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Harley Griffiths, Lieutenant C R G Basset, VC, 1920

Ref: AAAC 898 NCWA 461

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Cyril Royston Guyton Bassett (1892-1983) enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in August 1914. He landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, and was in the New Zealand Divisional Signal Company. Bassett, a corporal at the time, was awarded the VC for his actions on Chunuk Bair on 7 August 1915:

"For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on the Chunuk Bair Ridge, in the Gallipoli Peninsula, on 7th August, 1915. After the New Zealand Infantry Brigade had attacked and established itself on the ridge Corporal Bassett in full daylight and under a continuous and heavy fire succeeded in laying a telephone line from the old position to the new one on Chunuk Bair. He has subsequently been brought to notice for further excellent and most gallant work connected with the repair of telephone lines by day and night under heavy fire." [London Gazette, 15 October 1915]

Bassett's VC was the only one awarded to a New Zealander at Gallipoli. He was evacuted from Gallipoli on 13 August 1915 with illness, and did not rejoin his unit until September 1916 in France. Bassett was wounded at Passchendaele in October 1917 and again at the Somme in March 1918. He was discharged from the Expeditionary Force in early 1919.

At the outbreak of the Second World War Bassett again volunteered for military service, and joined the Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals in January 1941. He ceased active service in December 1943 as commander of the Northern District Signals.

This portrait of Bassett was done after his First World War service when he held the rank of lieutenant.

Oil, 1220 x 870mm
Gallipoli
Medals: Victoria Cross

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