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Robert Bye ["Tales of the V.C."]
Welsh Guards VC
Article with annotations.
Robert James Bye VC was a Welsh recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was 27 years old, and a Sergeant in the 1st Battalion, The Welsh Guards, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place on 31 July 1917 at a point on the map called 'Wood 15' near the Yser Canal, Belgium during the Third Battle of Ypres for which he was awarded the VC. His citation read: No. 939 Sjt. Robert Bye, Welsh Guards (Penrhiwceiber, Glamorgan). For most conspicuous bravery. Sjt. Bye displayed the utmost courage and devotion to duty during an attack on the enemy's position. Seeing that the leading waves were being troubled by two enemy blockhouses, he, on his own initiative, rushed at one of them and put the garrison out of action. He then rejoined his company and went forward to the assault of the second objective. When the troops had gone forward to the attack on the third objective, a party was detailed to clear up a line of blockhouses which had been passed. Sjt. Bye volunteered to take charge of this party, accomplished his object, and took many prisoners. He subsequently advanced to the third objective, capturing a number of prisoners, thus rendering invaluable assistance to the assaulting companies. He displayed throughout the most remarkable initiative. Post war Robert Bye moved to Nottinghamshire to work as a coal miner; also served in World War II as a sergeant major in the Sherwood Foresters guarding prisoners of war until ill health (arising from his pit work) forced him to leave the army. He then served in the Home Guard and as a temporary Police Constable. His Victoria Cross is displayed at The Guards Regimental Headquarters (Welsh Guards RHQ) in London, England. The attached account of his actions was written by James Price Lloyd of the Welsh Regiment, who served with Military Intelligence. After the war, the government to destroyed all the archives relating to this propaganda (section MI 7b (1)). They were regarded as being too sensitive to risk being made public. Remarkably these documents have survived in the personal records of Captain Lloyd. Many of these papers are officially stamped, and one can trace the development of many individual articles from the notes based on an idea, to the pencil draft which is then followed by the hand-written submission and the typescript. The archive "Tales of the VC" comprises 94 individual accounts of the heroism that earned the highest award for valour, the Victoria Cross. These are recounted deferentially and economically, yet they still manage to move the reader. Date stamp: 11 July 1918.