The Victoria Cross is the highest military honour
that can be awarded to service personnel. In the course of the
two World Wars only a few men from Bournemouth were honoured with
the VC. Three came from
Charminster . Two of them even came from the same road! Here are
Sgt Frederick Charles Riggs VC
up at 39 Capstone Road and a pupil of Malmesbury Park School he
enlisted with the 15th Hussars at the outbreak of war in 1914.
A year later he was promoted to sergeant in the 6th Battalion
of the York and Lancaster Regiment. He took part in the ill-fated
Gallipoli campaign and was posted to Egypt and then France where
he won the Military medal and was sent home to England after being
badly wounded in the Battle of the Somme. When he recovered from
his injuries he returned to France.
On October 1 1918 his platoon commander was killed
and he found himself leading his men in an assault on a machine
gun nest near Epinoy. Many of his platoon died as they pushed
on through barbed wire under heavy fire. He captured the machine
gun position and seizing two German machine guns went on single-handed
to capture fifty enemy soldiers!
An enemy counterattack followed a short time later
in which Sgt Riggs was killed while exhorting his men to stand
fast to the last bullet. He was thirty years old.
His posthumous Victoria Cross was awarded for "conspicuous
bravery and self-sacrifice". He is commemorated by the Riggs
Gardens in Wallisdown and by a bronze plaque in the school hall
at Malmesbury Park School.
Cpl Cecil Reginald Noble VC
in 1891 and brought up at 175 Capstone Road, Cecil Noble enlisted
with the Rifle Brigade in 1910.
The 12th March 1915 found his battalion trapped
under heavy fire at Neuve Chapelle and unable to advance through
dense barbed wire entanglements which were supposed to have been
destroyed by artillery fire.
The only way to break the impasse was for the wires
to be cut.
Recently promoted to Acting Corporal, Noble and
another man ran up to the entanglements through a hail of bullets
and managed to carve a way through for the battalion to charge
and capture the enemy trenches.
Both were badly wounded in the course of the deed
and Noble died the following day as he was being ferried to hospital.
Both were awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery.
Bournemouth Town Council passed a resolution expressing
its "high appreciation" of his conduct, and expressed
its sympathy with his parents on the "loss of their gallant
son through his heroic self-sacrifice" . A road and a block
of flats for ex-servicemen were named after him.
Lt-Col Derek Anthony Seagrim VC
Derek Segrim was born in 1903 at 14 Charminster
Road, the son of a clergyman. He won a commission to the Green
Howards in 1923 after failing his Sandhurst entrance exam!
1942 he was a Lieutenant Colonel in command of a battalion with
the "Desert Rats" at El Alamein in North Africa.
On March 20 1943 he was to lead a night time attack
on a heavily fortified section of the German Mareth Line in Tunisia.
The element of surprise was lost as German flares lit up the sky.
Enemy fire concentrated on a defensive ditch that was 3 metres
deep by 3 metres wide. The advance was temporarily halted. Seagrim
got it underway again by personally placing a scaling ladder and
becoming first to cross the ditch.
Immediately ahead was a machine gun post which Seagrim
destroyed with the aid of his revolver and grenades. He then tackled
a second machine gun post, personally killing of capturing around
20 enemy soldiers. His orders were to hold the new position at
all costs and he got his men to do so despite determined and repeated
counterattacks through the night and following day.
Seagrim was awarded the Victoria Cross for his deeds
through those 24 hours. He never got to read the citation though.
He died two weeks later from wounds suffered in a subsequent battle.