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Harry Cator ["Tales of the V.C."]

East Surrey Regiment VC


    • Article with annotations.
    • Harry Cator VC, MM was an English 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 born in Drayton in Norfolk to a railway worker. After leaving school he was a porter on the London Midland and Great Northern Joint Line before joining a building contractor in Great Yarmouth. He joined the British Army in September 1914, and arrived on the Western Front in June 1915 already a Sergeant in the 7th Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment. In 1916, during the Battle of the Somme he was awarded the Military Medal for bringing back 36 wounded men from no-mans land. He earned his VC at the start of the Battle of Arras. On 9 April 1917 near Arras, in trenches named 'Hengest Trench' near 'Havant Lane' Sergeant Cator's platoon had suffered heavy casualties from a German machine gun. Under heavy fire the Sergeant, with one man, advanced across the open to attack the emplaced weapon and crew, unfortunately his companion was killed but he still went on alone. Picking up a Lewis Gun and some ammunition drums on his way he succeeded in reaching the enemy trench. There he sighted another machine gun that he brought under fire, killing the entire team including the commander. He held the end of the trench with such effect that a bombing (grenade) squad were able to capture 100 prisoners and five machine guns. A few days later, shortly after that the award of the VC and the French Croix de Guerre were announced,he was injured by an exploding shell. After the war he worked as a postman and as a civil servant. 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: 5 April 1918.




  • Date:

    • 1917-04-09
  • Temporal:

    • 2013-05-04 08:34:33 UTC
  • Place/Time:

    • Western Front


References and relations


  • Location:

    • Blagney, Arras
    • #50.2823426,2.797516299999984
  • Place/Time:

    • Western Front
Longitude: "2.7975163"
Latitude: "50.28234"
  • Subjects, resource types, genres and forms (Concepts)

  • Place names (Places)