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Richard Wallwork, Sergeant Samuel Forsyth, VC, 1920

Ref: AAAC 898 NCWA 458

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Samuel Forsyth (1891-1918) enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force at the outbreak of war in 1914, and sailed with the main body to Egypt. He fought at Gallipoli were he received a slight wound, and was evacuated twice with illness. He was seconded to 2nd Auckland Battalion in August 1918, and was posthumously awarded the VC for his actions at Grevillers, France, on 24 August 1918:

“For most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in attack. On nearing the objective, his company under heavy machine gun fire. Through Sergeant Forsyth's dashing leadership and total disregard for danger, three machine gun positions were rushed and the crews taken prisoner before they could inflict many casualties on our troops. During a subsequent advance his company came under heavy fire from several machine guns, two of which he located by a reconnaissance. In his endeavour to gain support from a tank, he was wounded, but, after having the wound bandaged, he again got in touch with the tank which, in face of very heavy fire from machine guns and anti-tank guns, he endeavoured to lead, with magnificent coolness, to a favourable position. The tank, however, was put out of action. Sergeant Forsyth then organised the tank crew and several of his men into a section, and led them to a position where the machine guns could be outflanked. Always under heavy fire, he directed them into a position which brought about a retirement of the enemy machine guns and enabled the advance to continue. This gallant NCO was at that moment killed by a sniper. From the commencement of the attack until the time of his death, Sergeant Forsyth's courage and coolness, combined with great power and initiative, proved an invaluable incentive to all who were with him, and he undoubtedly saved many casualties among his comrades." [London Gazette, 18 October 1918]

(Postumous portrait)

Oil, 1220 x 863mm
Medals: Victoria Cross

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