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George Onions

George Onions VC (2 March 1883 – 2 April 1944)

George Onions VC (2 March 1883 – 2 April 1944) Born in Bilston, George Onions was the recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy. The Victoria Cross was awarded to Onions for his noble act of bravery on 22 August 1918 when he was 35 years old.

Lance Corporal George Onions was serving for the 1st Devon’s on 22 August 1918, who by that time were serving with the 5th division on the Somme to the South of Achiet-le-Petit. Onions was sent out with Private Eades to act as scouts to their company to contact the flanking battalion.

They located an old trench, which was to their surprise completely unoccupied. Just as they were planning their next move, a crowd of Germans, that were part of a force ordered to counter-attack a New Zealand Division but had become lost, appeared from nowhere and jumped into the trench. Instead of retreating, Onions and Eades opened fire. The Germans, around 250 strong, put up their hands in surrender. Onions then ordered the whole group into fours and marched them back to the Commanding Officer.

This act of remarkable gallantry by Lance Corporal Onions and Private Eades was recognized by the award of the Victoria Cross to George Onions for 'his magnificent courage and presence of mind'. Private Eades was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.During a visit to the 1st Battalion at Le Quesnoy on 8th December 1918, the King presented Lance Corporal Onions his Victoria Cross. Following the war, George Onions served in the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary during the Anglo-Irish War. George Onions reached the rank of Major and died in Birmingham in April 1944.