R.G. masters VC
Private R.G. Masters VC
The only Ambulance person believed to have received a Victoria Cross.
Before joining the Army, George Masters, as he was known to his friends, was a chauffeur in his home town of Southport. He was a keen cyclist and won many championships including the tandem world record, for the quarter and half mile, with his partner W. Birtwistle. During the winter months he turned to cross-country running and also won several championships.
Just after the outbreak of war in 1914 he joined the Army and became a driver in the Army Service Corp attached to the 141st Field Ambulance. On 17th March 1917, after a bombing raid on the Somme, he volunteered to go forward with a motor Ambulance to an advance dressing station. The citation appeared in the London Gazette on the 8th May 1918.
His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the Victoria Cross to No: M2-048544 Private Richard George Masters ASC (MT)
“for most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. Owing to an enemy attack, communications were cut off and wounded could not be evacuated. The road was reported impassable, but Private Masters volunteered to try and get through and after the greatest difficulty succeeded, although he had to clear the road of all sorts of debris. He made journey after journey throughout the afternoon over a road constantly shelled and swept by machine-gun fire, and was on one occasion bombed by an aeroplane. The greatest part of the wounded cleared from this area were evacuated by Private Masters as his was the only car to get through during this particular time”.
Private Masters VC was also decorated with the Croix de Guerre.
As a civilian, George Masters was Life President of the Southport Branch of the RASC. He died in 1963 at the age of 86.
The family of Mr R.G. Masters presented his Victoria Cross to the Royal Corp of Transport and can be viewed in the RCT Regimental Museum, Buller Barracks, Aldershot, Hampshire.
We are grateful to Major C.W. P. Coan, Curator RCT Regimental Museum and Graham Andrews of the British Ambulance Society for supplying this information.
The Victoria Cross was Queen Victorias own idea. She realised, as the preamble to the original Royal Warrant of the 29th January 1856 stated, that there was no way of adequately rewarding the individual gallant services either of officers of the lower grades or of warrant and petty officers, seaman and marines in our Navy, and non-commissioned officers and soldiers in our Army. From its inception the Victoria Cross was a medal for everyman. All persons were on a perfectly equal footing neither rank, nor long service, nor wounds, nor any other circumstance or condition whatsoever, save the merit of conspicuous gallantry would qualify a man for the Victoria Cross. It was open to any officer or man of the Navy or Army who performed some signal act of valour. On 5th January 1856, a communication from the Queens Secretary at Windsor Castle to the then Secretary of State for War said The Queen returns the drawings for the Victoria Cross. She has marked the one she approves of with an X; she thinks the motto would be be better For Valour than For the Brave, as this would lead to the inference that only those who have received the VC are deemed to be brave. The cross was suspended from a ribbon 1.5 inches wide, maroon for Army winners, blue for the Navy. When the RAF became a separate organisation on 1st April 1918, King George V decided that henceforth all crosses would be suspended from the same maroon ribbon. Those already in possession of Naval crosses were allowed to retain the blue ribbon.
Although we realise technically George Masters doesnt come under the remit of this web-site (as the NHS wasnt formed until 1948) we trust you found the information of interest.
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