Alec George Horwood VC, DCM
Alec Horwood was born in South Deptford, London, on 6th January 1914. He joined 6th Bn The Queen’s Royal Regiment at Bermondsey on 3rd April 1939 and was mobilised in the following September at the outbreak of war. As a sergeant he was captured during the evacuation from Dunkirk but escaped via Antwerp in 1940. For this very gallant escape he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Commissioned on 28th December 1940, he was attached to 1st Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment and was serving with them in Burma when he was mortally wounded on 20th January 1944 and was buried at the Rest Home Kyauchaw, being later reinterred in the War Cemetery at Imphal, India. His widow received his Victoria Cross from HM King George VI at Buckingham Palace on 4th December 1944.
“At Kyauchaw on 18th January 1944, Lieutenant Horwood accompanied the forward company of The Northamptonshire Regiment into action against a Japanese defended locality with his forward mortar observation post. Throughout that day he lay in an exposed position which had been completely bared of cover by concentrated air bombing and effectively shot his own mortars and those of a half troop of another unit while the company was manoeuvring to locate the exact position of the enemy bunkers and machine-gun nests. During the whole of this time Lieutenant Horwood was under intense sniper, machine-gun, and mortar fire, and at night he came back with most valuable information about the enemy.
On 19th January, he moved forward with another company and established an observation post on a precipitous ridge. From here, while under continual fire from the enemy, he directed accurate mortar fire in support of two attacks which were put in during the day. He also carried out a personal reconnaissance along and about the bare ridge, deliberately drawing the enemy fire so that the fresh company which he had led to the position, and which was to carry out an attack, might see the enemy positions.
Lieutenant Horwood remained on the ridge during the night 19th-20th January and on the morning of 20th January shot the mortars again to support a fresh attack by another company put in from the rear of the enemy. He was convinced that the enemy would crack and volunteered to lead the attack planned for that afternoon. He led this attack with such calm resolute bravery, that the enemy were reached and while standing up in the wire, directing and leading the men with complete disregard to the enemy fire which was then at point blank range, he was mortally wounded.
By his fine example of leadership on the 18th, 19th and 20th January when continually under fire, by his personal example to others of reconnoitering, guiding and bringing up ammunition in addition to his duties at the mortar observation post, all of which were carried out under great physical difficulties and in exposed positions, this officer set the highest example of bravery and devotion to duty which all ranks responded to magnificently. The cool, calculated actions of this officer, coupled with his magnificent bearing and bravery which culminated in his death on the enemy wire, very largely contributed to the ultimate success of the operation which resulted in the capture of the position on the 24th January.
|Date of Act of Bravery
18th-20th January 1944
30th March 1944