L/Sgt Joseph Edward Woodall VC Rifle Brigade


Victoria Cross One of our members, John Evans, was reading up on regimental history recently and found that a member of the Rifle Brigade, Joseph Edward Woodall, who was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1918 lived very close to where he lives now, in Manchester.

A picture of Joseph Edward Woodall was taken from the original provided by the family, a citation and copies of a Victoria Cross, Rifle Brigade cap badge and RGJ cap badge were put together in a framed presentation case and were presented to the school on 16th June 1999.

Ray Gerrard, Dougie Owens, Frank Toner, George Caldwell, John Evans and Ross Rhodes represented the branch. We were all surprised to find that the local MP, school governors, the local priest and the whole of the school were to be present at the blessing of the plaque.

After the photo call by the local press the headmaster introduced us to the school after which Ray Gerrard gave a small talk on who we were, who Joseph Woodall was and what he achieved. The priest, armed with what we thought was a soup ladle rather than a sprinkler, judging by the amount of children he soaked in the first two rows, then blessed the plaque. The day was a huge public relations success.

The citation for the award of the Victoria Cross to L/Sgt Woodall reads as follows:

On 22 April 1918 at La Pannerie, France, Lance-Sergeant Woodall was in charge of a platoon which was held up during an advance by a machine-gun. On his own initiative he rushed forward and single-handed captured the gun and eight men. He then collected 10 men and rushed a farmhouse from which heavy fire was coming, taking 30 prisoners. Shortly afterwards when the officer in charge was killed, he took entire command, reorganising and disposing the two platoons most skilfully. Throughout the day this NCO was constantly encouraging the men and finding out and sending back invaluable information.

L/Sgt Woodall's VC is publicly displayed in the Royal Green Jackets Museum in Winchester, Hampshire.

L/Sgt Woodall later achieved the rank of Captain.