Gordon Flowerdew

Gordon Flowerdew VC  Gordon Flowerdew

Gordon Flowerdew VC

Gordon Flowerdew was born in Norfolk, England, educated at Framlingham College in Suffolk and moved shortly afterwards to take up ranching in British Columbia, Canada. When war broke out he enlisted in Lord Strathconas Horse as a private and was commissioned in 1916. In January 1918 he took command of C Squadron.

For most of the war, the Canadian Cavalry had played little part due to the static nature of the conflict. However when the Germans launched Operation Michael in the spring of 1918, advancing on l'Avre river and Moreuil near Amiens the Corps were called into action to stop them. As the Germans entered Moreuil Wood from the east, Flowerdew rode his squadron around the wood and attacked from the north. He was up against five infantry battalions and an artillery company. He ordered a charge, the last great cavalry charge in history.

His citation read:

"For most conspicuous bravery and dash when in command of a squadron detailed for special services of a very important nature. On reaching his first objective, Lieutenant Flowerdew saw two lines of enemy, each about sixty strong with machine-guns in the centre and the flanks, one line being about two hundred yards behind the other. Realizing the critical nature of the operation and how much depended on it, Lieut Flowerdew ordered a troop under Lieut Harvey VC to dismount and carry out a special movement while he led the remaining three troops to the charge. The squadron (less one troop) passed over both lines killing many of the enemy with the sword and wheeling about, galloping on them again. Although the squadron had then lost about 70 per cent of its members, killed and wounded from rifle and machine-gun fire directed on it from the front and both flanks, the enemy broke and retired. The survivors of the squadron then established themselves in a position where they were joined after much hand to hand fighting by Lieut Harveys part. Lieut Flowerdew was dangerously wounded through both thighs during the operation but continued to cheer his men. There can be no doubt this officers great valour was the prime factor in the capture of the position"

Flowerdew died of his wounds and is buried at Namps - au - Val cemetery in France.