John Norwood VC

b. 08/09/1876 Beckenham, Kent. d. 08/09/1914 Sablonnieres, France.

John Norwood (1876-1914) was born on 8th September 1876, the son of John Norwood, of Pembury Lodge, near Beckenham, Kent. He was educated at Abbey School in Beckenham, then at Rugby and at Oxford University, before entering the 5th (Princess Charlotte of Wales’) Dragoon Guards on 8th February 1899, just prior to the outbreak of hostilities in South Africa.

John Norwood VC

He was posted with his regiment to serve in the Second Boer War from 1899-1900, during which he would be gazetted for the Victoria Cross on 27th July 1900, for his actions on 30th October 1899 near to Ladysmith.

On the 30th October, 1899, this Officer went out from Ladysmith in charge of a small patrol of the 5th Dragoon Guards. They came under a heavy fire from the enemy, who were posted on a ridge in great force. The patrol, which had arrived within about 600 yards of the ridge, then retired at full speed. One man dropped, and Second Lieutenant Norwood galloped back about 300 yards through heavy fire, dismounted, and picking up the fallen trooper, carried him out of fire on his back, at the same time leading his horse with one hand. The enemy kept up an incessant fire during the whole time that Second Lieutenant Norwood was carrying the man until he was quite out of range.

Norwood was presented with his Victoria Cross by the Commander in Chief, South Africa, Lord Frederick Sleigh Roberts VC in Pretoria on 25th October 1900. Norwood was promoted to Captain in the 5th Dragoon Guards, and joined the Reserve of Officers on 1st February 1911. On the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, he joined the 2nd County of London Yeomanry, which was attached to the 5th Dragoon Guards. He then became part of the British Expeditionary Force sent to stop the German advance through Belgium and Northern France.

Norwood was killed in action during the First Battle of the Marne at Sablonnieres, Seine-et-Marne, France, in the early days of the war on 8th September 1914. He was buried in a small Commonwealth War Graves plot within Sablonnieres New Communal Cemetery Extension. His medals are on loan from the family and displayed in the Imperial War Museum.