Throughout the First World War, the many announcements of British and Commonwealth gallantry awards appeared in the various issues of The London Gazette. As part of our major monthly series covering the period of the Great War commemorations, we examine some of the actions involved and summarise all of the awards announced in February 1917.

February 1917

The memorial stone to Lieutenant Humphry Firman VC in the pavement outside South Kensington underground station. It was unveiled on 25 April 2016. (COURTESY OF TOMMY BROCK)
British troops pictured being landed from a river steamer during the operations on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers prior to the events of April 1916. It would appear that the steamer is also carrying two field guns, and that the weapons on board are protected by sandbags and iron sleepers. At least one source states that this is the steamer HMS Julnar. (HISTORIC MILITARY PRESS)

Aside from Acting Sergeant Thomas Mottershead, whose exploits are explored by Lord Ashcroft in his feature this month, two other men were awarded the VC in February 1917 – Lieutenant-Commander Charles Henry Cowley and Lieutenant Humphry Osbaldeston Brooke Firman. Both men were recognised for their actions in the same incident during the Allied efforts to relieve the besieged garrison at Kut in Mesopotamia.


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