Corp John Elisha Grimshaw V.C.

Birth: Jan. 23, 1893
Death: Jul. 20, 1980

World War I Victoria Cross Recipient. Grimshaw was born in the village of Abram, near Wigan in Lancashire. He worked as a carpenter in a colliery like his father until enlisting in the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1912. Grimshaw was awarded the V.C. for action during the landings at W Beach during the Gallipoli Campaign, April 25, 1915, one of the group known in the press as “The Six V.C.s Before Breakfast (the others were Capts. R.R. Willis and C. Bromley, Sgts. A. Richards and F.E. Stubbs, and Pvt. W. Kennealy). Grimshaw was acting as a signaler for ‘C’ Company of 1st Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, keeping contact between his unit and the operation’s headquarters on HMS Euryalus. In the course of the fighting Grimshaw’s pack and water bottle were riddled with bullets, and his cap badge was smashed, but he miraculously escaped injury, constantly braving intense machine-gun fire from the Turkish positions to maintain communications. Grimshaw’s citation read: “On the 25th April, 1915, headquarters and three companies of the 1st Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers in effecting a landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula to the West of Cape Helles, were met by very deadly fire from hidden machine guns, which caused a great number of casualties. The survivors, however, rushed up to and cut the wire entanglements, notwithstanding the terrific fire from the enemy, and after overcoming supreme difficulties, the cliffs were gained and the position maintained. Amongst the many very gallant officers and men engaged in this most hazardous undertaking, Captain Bromley, Serjeant Stubbs, and Corporal Grimshaw have been selected by their comrades as having performed the most single acts of bravery and devotion to duty.” (The citation for Bromley, Stubbs, and Grimshaw was not issued until March 15, 1917, due to War Office regulations and red tape; the citation for Willis, Richards, and Kennealy, worded identically, had been issued on August 23, 1915.) Grimshaw survived Turkish gunfire only to fall victim to frostbite. He spent five weeks in hospital and then was sent to England to recuperate. In 1917 he was in France when he was commissioned in the field, after which he was posted to India. He rejoined the “Lancs” in 1921, then retired from active duty to become a recruiting officer, a role he filled until his final retirement in 1953 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after forty-one years service. He passed away at the age of 87 at his home in the Twickenham area of London. His V.C. medal is privately

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