John Readitt VC
Name: John Readitt
Conflict: First World War
Gazetted: July 5, 1917
John Readitt VC
Place/date of birth: Clayton Bridge, Manchester/January 19, 1897
Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Private (later Sergeant)
Date of bravery: February 25, 1917
London Gazette citation:
No. 18233 Pte. John Readitt, South Lancashire Regiment.
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when working down a broad, deep water-course.
Five times he went forward in the face of very heavy machine-gun fire at very close range, being the sole survivor on each occasion. These advances drove back the enemy machine guns, and about 300 yards of water-course was made good in an hour.
After his officer had been killed Private Readitt, on his own initiative, organised and made several more advances.
On reaching the enemy barricade, he was forced by a counter-attack to retire, giving ground slowly and continuing to throw bombs. On supports reaching him, he held a forward bend by bombing until the position was consolidated.
The action of this gallant soldier saved the left flank and enabled his Battalion to maintain its position.
Click here to see full Gazette entry.
Other decorations: N/A
Place/date of death: Clayton Bridge, Manchester/June 9, 1964
Grave/memorials: Gorton Cemetery, Manchester
Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased at auction, Spink, London, 2000
Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum