James William Adams VC

Name: James William Adams

Conflict: Second Afghan War

Gazetted: August 24, 1881

Service: Civilian

James William Adams VC

Medal group

Place/date of birth: Cork, Ireland/November 24 1839

Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Chaplain (later Chaplain-in-Ordinary to King Edward VII)

Date of bravery: December 11, 1879

London Gazette citation:

THE Queen having been graciously pleased, by Warrant under Her Royal Sign Manual, bearing date the 6th of August, 1881, to direct that the decoration of the Victoria Cross shall be conferred on Members of the Indian Ecclesiastical Establishments who may be qualified to receive the same, in accordance with the rules and ordinances made and ordained for the government thereof, provided that it be established in any case that the person was serving under the orders of a General or other Officer in command of Troops in the Field when he performed the act of bravery for which it is proposed to confer the decoration :—

Her Majesty has accordingly been pleased to signify Her intention to confer this high distinction on the undermentioned gentleman, whose claim to the same has been submitted for Her Majesty’s approval on account of his conspicuous bravery in Afghanistan as recorded against his name, viz. :—

Bengal Ecclesiastical Establishment, late Chaplain to the Kabul Field Force, The Reverend J. W. Adams

During the action at Killa Kazi, on the 11th December, 1879, some men of the 9th Lancers having fallen, with their horses, into a wide and deep “nullah” or ditch, and the enemy being close upon them, the Reverend J. W. Adams rushed into the water (which filled the ditch), dragged the horses from off the men upon whom they were lying, and extricated them, he being at the time under a heavy fire, and up to his waist in water.

At this time the Afghans were pressing on very rapidly, the leading men getting within a few yards of Mr. Adams, who having let go his horse in order to render more effectual assistance, had eventually to escape on foot.

Click here to see full Gazette entry.

Other decorations: N/A

Place/date of death: Ashwell, Rutland/October 20, 1903

Grave/memorials: Ashwell Churchyard, Rutland/Memorial windows and brass mural tablet at St Peter’s Mission Church, Stow Bardolph, Norfolk, and plaque and name on Board of Chaplains, St John’s Church, Peshawar, Pakistan

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 2017

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum