1. ITV Report

First WW1 officer to win a Victoria Cross commemorated 100 years on

Captain Francis Grenfell, the first recipient of the Victoria Cross during WW1. Photo: PA

The first WW1 officer to be awarded with a Victoria Cross will be honoured today exactly 100 years since his heroic action.

Rallying the troops after his regiment was decimated in a charge against a large body of German infantry, Captain Francis Grenfell was shot twice and severely injured near Audregnies, Belgium.

In spite of his injuries, as the most senior officer remaining, he nonetheless oversaw the withdrawal of numerous troops and weapons, leading them out of range of enemy fire.

A career soldier who joined joined the army straight from Eton, Capt Grenfell was commissioned into the infantry and served during the South African war. An international polo player, he transferred to the 9th (Queen's Royal) Lancers.

During the First World War he was twice brought home wounded but each time returned to the Western Front. He was killed in action at Hooge in the Ypres salient on May 24 1915, aged 34.

Awarding him the VC for his bravery, King George V wrote: "I was proud to give him his nobly earned Victoria Cross and trusted that he might live to wear it for many years. Our heartfelt sympathy."

Exactly a century since his heroic deed, a commemorative paving stone in memory will be unveiled at a ceremony in Guildford, Surrey.

Members of the 9th/12th Lancers Prince of Wales's Regiment will also travel from Germany to attend the ceremony, bringing Capt Grenfell's medals which he left to his regiment.