Edmund De Wind

Posthumous winner of the Victoria Cross

Son of Arthur Hughes CE and Margaret Jane de Wind of ‘Kinvara’, Comber, Edmund De Wind joined the 15th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles and took part in battles at Thiepval, Messines Ridge, Ypres, and Cambrai during the first world war. However, on March 21, 1918, De Wind was fatally injured during a German attack. The London Gazette, dated May 13, 1919, recorded the following:

‘For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice on the 21st March, 1918, at the Race Course Redoubt, near Groagie, France. For seven hours [De Wind] held this most important post, and though twice wounded and practically single-handed, he maintained his position until another section could be got to his help. On two occasions, with two NCOs only, he got out on top under heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and cleared the enemy out of the trench, killing many. He continued to repel attack after attack until he was mortally wounded and collapsed. His valour, self-sacrifice and example were of the highest order.’

De Wind was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the greatest award for bravery and devotion to duty that any soldier can achieve. It was one of three gained by his regiment between 1914 and 1918.

A tablet to his memory can be found in Comber Parish Church. After the war, a large German gun was presented to the town as a memorial. Unfortunately, the gun was removed from the town square during the second world war as scrap metal to aid the production of munitions. However, metal plates from the side of the gun containing an inscription were preserved, and are now in the porch of the parish church in the square.

© Darren Taylor, Aquiweb.com