In my last post I talked about Frederick Roberts and his being awarded the Victoria Cross during the battle of Colenso. I implied that the award had as much to do with Frederick’s influential father as it did with gallant actions.
As a follow up I wanted to draw your attention to Walter Congreve, who braved his life to rescue Roberts, and was subsequently awarded the VC.
After the Boar War he remained in the army and quickly progressed through the ranks. By 1915 he was a Major-General fighting in the trenches of Northern France.
However, Walter was not the only Congreve in France. His son, William, was a Major in the Rifle Brigade. Here’s wikipedia account of the days before his death:
During the period 6 July/20 July 1916 at Longueval, France, Major Congreve constantly inspired those round him by numerous acts of gallantry. As Brigade Major he not only conducted battalions up to their positions but when the Brigade headquarters was heavily shelled he went out with the medical officer to remove the wounded to places of safety, although he himself was suffering from gas and other shell effects. He went out again on a subsequent occasion tending the wounded under heavy shell fire. Finally, on returning to the front line to ascertain the position after an unsuccessful attack, he was shot and died instantly.
For his action William Congreve was awarded the VC.
Is this history repeating its self?
How much does his father’s position play in this mater?
Once again it’s difficult to tell. Having read William Congreve’s diary there is no question he was a brave and committed soldier. However, so where many other soldiers who never received nation’s highest award for gallantry.