Temporar y Lieutenant-Colonel Wilfrith Elstob VC, DSO, MC
Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel Wilfrith Elstob was an inspirational leader of men and a man of his word, even when it meant near certain death for him and those serving under him. In the face of an overwhelming enemy attack at the start of Germany’s Spring Offensive in 1918, he sent a message to his brigade commander: “The Manchester Regiment will defend the Manchester Redoubt to the last.”
At the same time, he was equally candid with his men, telling them: “Here we fight and here we die.” Both statements were equally true, and the bravery of Elstob and his men was quite incredible in the face of a far greater enemy force. It is little wonder that he was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.
Wilfrith Elstob was the third son of the Reverend John George Elstob and his wife, Frances (née Chamberlain). Elstob senior was the vicar of Capesthorne with Siddington, Cheshire, and he later became the honourable canon of Chester Cathedral. Elstob junior was educated at Ryleys School, Alderley Edge in Cheshire, and Christ’s Hospital School, near Horsham, Sussex, before going on to study for a BA at Manchester University. He finally completed his studies with a diploma in education at the Lycée in Bervais, France, followed by further studies at the Sorbonne in Paris.