Frank Lester VC
Name: Frank Lester
Conflict: First World War
Gazetted: December 14, 1918
Frank Lester VC
Place/date of birth: Huyton, near Liverpool/February 18, 1896
Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Private
Date of bravery: October 12, 1918
London Gazette citation:
No. 51674 Pte. Frank Lester, late 10th Bn., Lanc. Fus. (Irby, nr. Birkenhead).
For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice during the clearing of the village of Neuvilly on 12th October, 1918, when, with a party of about seven men under an officer, he was the first to enter a house from the back door, and shot two Germans as they attempted to get out by the front door.
A minute later a fall of masonry blocked the door by which the party had entered. The only exit into the street was under fire at point-blank range. The street also was swept by the fire of machine guns at close range. Observing that an enemy sniper was causing heavy casualties to a party in a house across the street, Pte. Lester exclaimed, “I’ll settle him,” and, dashing out into the street, shot the sniper at close quarters, falling mortally wounded at the same instant.
This gallant man well knew it was certain death to go into the street, and the party opposite was faced with the alternative of crossing the fire-swept street or staying where it was and being shot one by one.
To save their lives he sacrificed his own.
Click here to see full Gazette entry.
Other decorations: N/A
Place/date of death: Neuvilly, France/October 12, 1918
Grave/memorials: Neuvilly Communal Cemetery Extension, France; Public Library, Irby, Cheshire; Irby Methodist Church, Cheshire; Hoylake Evangelical Church, Merseyside; Hoylake War Memorial, Merseyside; West Kirby War Memorial, Merseyside
Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased at auction, Morton & Eden, London, 2002
Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum