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VC/GC Diary

Welcome to the Victoria Cross and George Cross Diaries


Here we add daily diary entries on the anniversaries of when the Victoria Crosses and George Crosses were awarded.

GC Diary 24th September

By victoriagreen068, Sep 24 2016 06:28AM

The George Cross Diary for 24th September contains five men who were all awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal for their actions during the disturbances in Malabar, India during 1921-22.

Assistant Surgeon George David Rodrigues EGM/GC was born in Podanur, India on 1st March 1892, the son of David Rodrigues and his Irish wife Amelia O’Connor. He was an only child and spent his early life in Podanur. After schooling, he went to Madras Medical School as a military student from where he qualified as a doctor and then joined the Indian Medical Department. He was posted to different parts of India before arriving in the Malabar area just prior to the disturbances.

He was awarded the EGM for his actions in saving the lives of several of his senior officers. He married in 1923 to Winifred Bantleman and they had two children, Carlton and Nigel. George then started his own medical practice in 1925 in Calicut, where he worked until he retired to Bangalore in later years and deteriorating health. He died on 21st August 1962 and is buried in Bangalore. His medal is privately held.

William George Hand EGM/GC, MM was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire in 1896. He was a member of the 2nd Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment at the time of being posted to India. He had served in World War One and had been awarded the Military Medal.

On 24th September 1921 in Nilambur, India, he was the subject of an ambush, but Hand, successfully bombed his way out of the situation, and then showed great gallantry in clearing up the situation. He was awarded the EGM, which later became the GC in 1940. Hand died on 28th October 1961 in Salisbury and was buried in the churchyard of St Nicholas in Porton, Wiltshire. His medals are held by The Keep Museum, Dorchester, Dorset.

Frederick H D Chant EGM/GC was born in 1900 in Sherborne, Dorset, and little is known of his early life, prior to him “advancing” his age to enlist with the Devonshire Regiment in 1918. He then moved to the Dorsetshire Regiment in February 1919, leaving them in the Sudan in July 1922, not long after his actions in India which saw him awarded the EGM.

On 24th September 1921 at Nilambur, India, he used his Lewis gun at close range against the enemy, who were occupying a house and firing at him. His gun jammed, but he calmly got up and fetched a rifle and maintained his fire in the rebels with coolness and deliberation. He, with Private Troake, subsequently showed great courage in clearing the rebels from the gardens and jungle around the house.

Chant later joined the Hampshire Regiment and became a Corporal, being an instructor of the Lewis Gun. He married and had five sons and a daughter. In 1947, he began working in a shipyard at Lymington, Dorset. He died on 9th March 1968 in Hythe, Hampshire and was buried in St John the Baptist Church, Boldre, Dorset. His medals are privately held.

Thomas Frank “Dusty” Miller EGM/GC was born on 7th October 1890 in Portland, Dorset, the son of Thomas and Louisa Miller. His father was a Prison Warden and Thomas was their sixth child. Tom enlisted in the Dorsetshire Regiment in 1907 and served with the 2nd Battalion in Mesopotamia and Palestine. He was wounded twice. He chose to re-enlist for four years at Damascus in 1919 and went out to India with the 2nd Dorsets from Portland in September 1919. Based at Belgaum, he became involved in the Malabar uprisings of 1921-22.

On 24th September 1921, at Nilambur, India, he displayed great gallantry by going forward towards a rebel ambush and firing on it at close range. He was instrumental in dislodging several snipers who were causing casualties among British soldiers. He, with Sergeant Hand GC, subsequently showed great courage in clearing up the situation.

He later served with the Battalion in Sudan and Egypt and after leaving the Army with 18 years service, he became a gardener and later moved from Portland to Birmingham. He died in Birmingham on 13th December 1974, and was cremated at the Robin Hood Crematorium in Shirley. His medals are privately held, having been sold for £16,000 at auction in 2011.

Frederick Henry Troake EGM/GC was born on 4th September 1896 in Wellington, Somerset, the son of William and Hannah Troake (nee Twose). He had two sisters, Beatrice and Florence and a brother William. The family lived at Rockwell Green and the children went to the village school. When Frederick left school at 13, he worked at the local woollen mill, before joining the Army in 1913. He soon joined the Dorsetshire Regiment from the Somerset Light Infantry and was posted to India.

On 24th September 1921, at Nilambur, India, he showed conspicuous gallantry in advancing up to the fence around a house in which rebels had been located and in covering the rush of an officer and NCO who set fire to the roof, forcing the rebels out. He and Private Chant GC subsequently showed courage in clearing the rebels out of the gardens and jungle around the house.

When he returned to England in the mid 1920s, he worked at the gasometer in Wellington but had to retire due to ill health in the 1940s. He died on 27th April 1974 and was cremated and his ashes were interred in Rockwell Green Cemetery, Wellington, Somerset. His medals are privately held.

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