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To: Michael Tomlinson MP
World War 1. Remembering Private W. Tongs D.C.M.
To review Sir John Holmes Medal Review, with a view to an amendment to include the right to investigate and modify the way that Serviceman in World War 1, who carried out several acts of bravery and consequently died for their Country, and were overlooked in not receiving the highest award and where sufficient evidence was available to posthumously award the Victoria Cross. In the case of Pvt. W. Tongs, there is sufficient evidence to warrant the upgrade from his D.C.M. To the Victoria Cross.
Why is this important?
We are coming up to the 100 Years anniversary of the Great War. I am the last surviving family member of Private William Tongs D.C.M, who died on the 12th of May 1915, after carrying out three brave deeds, each act deserving the highest award of the Victoria Cross. There is evidence that the War Graves Commission's burial records indicated he was buried with the award of the V.C. His Commanding Officer was injured the same day that Pvt. W. Tongs earned the DCM for his first act of bravery. His second act was to rescue 7 wounded men of the Royal Irish Rifles under very heavy fire and brought them back to safety. His third act, as defined by his Commanding Officer in a letter to his father:-. "There was no more gallant officer or man in the battalion than your son; he earned his D.C.M. on 10th March for conspicuous bravery both in the handling of a machine gun and for going out under very heavy fire from the enemy and helping in seven wounded men. He died from wounds received in action on the 9th of May. On this occasion his gallantry was equally conspicuous in the manner he worked his machine gun. He was on this occasion wounded several times and died on the 12th May. He served his country nobly and died a hero’s death." It will be noticed that no award was made for the third plucky incident in the career of this noble Guernseyman. The V.C. has often been granted for such deeds.
There are numerous V.C's awarded for far less brave acts, and although these recipients were courageous, the V.C. is usually awarded not only for gallantry but for the most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy." As an example of an oversite and in one case example, two VC's were issued to an Officer and a Private, for handling the same machine gun, the Officer was killed, the Private took over the machine gun and was eventually captured by the enemy. This one act was justified by the granting of two awards of the Victoria Cross. Yet Private Tongs earned a DCM for three acts of gallantry in the presence of the enemy which produced positive results. The V.C. Can be awarded posthumously and in this instance, my petition is purely to posthumously upgrade the DCM to the Victoria Cross, that was richly deserved, when Pvt. Tongs gave his life for his Country. The full story can be seen published by an independent organisation: - The Priaux Library in Guernsey Channel Islands.
London Gazette Issue 29180 published on 1 June 1915. Page 37 of 40
"For conspicuous gallantry at Neuve Chapelle on 10th March 1915. When he brought his machine gun into position under a heavy fire and silenced a German gun which had been doing much damage. On the 12th March, he rescued wounded men of the Royal Irish Rifles under heavy fire."