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Lt. Col. William John English V.C.


Soldier
1882 - 1941

image of Lt. Col. William John English V.C. image of 16 Kings Road, BelfastEnglish's grave in Aden: Photo-Simon Morris Blue Plaque to Lt. Col. English VC

William John English, born on 6 October 1882 in Cork, was the son of Major William English OBE. He was educated at Harvey Grammar School in Folkstone, Kent from 1894 to 1898 and Campbell College, Belfast from 1898 to 1899. After a short spell in the Merchant Navy, he left it in South Africa and in November 1900 joined the the Scottish Horse. In March 1901 he received his Commission as Lieutenant in the 2nd Scottish Horse. The citation of his VC award reads as follows -

This officer, with five men, was holding the position at Vlakfontein on 3 July 1901 during an attack by the Boers. Two of his men were killed and two wounded, but the position was still held, largely owing to the lieutenant's personal pluck. When the ammunition ran short, he went over to the next party and obtained more; to do so he had to cross some 15 yards of open ground, under a heavy fire at a range of from 20 to 30 yards.

W.J. English VC, RASC, was appointed Captain in August 1914 and embarked for France. He was made Temporary Major in November that year and, apart from a nine month UK posting in 1915, continued to serve in France and Belgium until the end of the war and beyond. After his retirement in 1930 he lived at Kings Road, Knock, in Belfast where he was the Northern Ireland organiser for the National Association for Employment of Regular Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen. In August 1939 he formed in Northern Ireland a Group of the National Defense Corps which in November of that year, became the 6th Battalion, The Royal Ulster Rifles. In April 1941 he left to take up an unknown appointment in the Middle East but died at sea on 4 July. He is buried in Maala Cemetery in Aden

Location of plaque:   16 King's Road Knock, Belfast.

Report of Plaque unveiling available HERE

Print copy