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Roland Elcock VC (15 June 1889 – 6 October 1944)

Roland Elcock VC (15 June 1889 – 6 October 1944) – Roland Elcock was born in Heath Town and enlisted to the First World War when he was just 15 years old. He was discovered and re-enlisted on his 18th birthday. Elcock was awarded the Victoria Cross for his remarkable act of bravery on 15 October 2018.

Elcock was in south-east of Capelle-St. Catherine, France, Corporal and oversaw a Lewis gun team. From his own initiative he ran with his gun within 10 yards of enemy guns, which were causing heavy casualties and holding up the advance. Victoriously he put the guns out of action, capturing five prisoners and saved the whole attack from being held up. Later, near the River Lys, this NCO again attacked an enemy machine-gun and captured the crew. When an Express and Star journalist had the honour of conveying the news to Mrs Elcock that her son would be awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry efforts, she was overjoyed!

On Elcock’s return to Wolverhampton, he was greeted by thousands of citizens, including the Mayor and other civic dignitaries. Described by the Wolverhampton Chronicle on 5th February 1919 as “modesty personified”, he “did not wish to talk about one of the most remarkable exploits of the war. He was content to let the official record speak for itself. The streets were lined with cheering and waving, and people shaking Elcock by the hand. In response to the civic reception, Elcock stated, “I thank you very much for the way you have welcomed me home. Wolverhampton is my home, and I appreciate it very much. But in winning this great distinction, I have only done my duty to my King and country.”

After the war he was re-employed by Wolverhampton Corporation Electricity Department. Elcock later went to India and worked in the post and telegraph service in upper Burma as a divisional engineer and was promoted to the Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs on the North-West Frontier. Elcock achieved the rank of Major in the British Indian Army during World War Two, dying at Dehra Dun, India, on 6th October 1944 of ill health. He is buried in St Thomas’ Churchyard, Dehra Dun. His medal group comprising of the Victoria Cross, Military Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19, King George V Silver Jubilee Medal 1935 and King George VI Coronation Medal 1937.