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John Henry Carless
John Henry Carless
Born (1896-11-11)November 11, 1896
Died November 17, 1917(1917-11-17) (aged 21)
Place of birth Walsall, England
Place of death Heligoland, Germany
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1914-1917
Rank Ordinary Seaman
Unit H.M.S. Caledon
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Victoria Cross

John Henry Carless VC (11 November 1896 – 17 November 1917) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross during the First World War.

Carless was born on 11 November 1896 to John Thomas and Elizabeth Carless, of Walsall.[1] He died when he was 21 years old, and an Ordinary Seaman in the Royal Navy during World War I. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 17 November 1917 aboard HMS Caledon at the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight, Germany, which led to his death. Having no known grave, he is listed on Panel 25 of the Royal Naval Memorial at Portsmouth, Hampshire.[1]


For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. Although mortally wounded in the abdomen, he still went on serving the gun at which he was acting as rammer, lifting a projectile and helping to clear away the other casualties. He collapsed once, but got up, tried again, and cheered on the new gun's crew. He then fell and died. He not only set a very inspiring and memorable example, but he also, whilst mortally wounded, continued to do effective work against the King's enemies.

—The London Gazette, No. 30687, 17 May 1918[1]

Walsall Museum

the Walsall bust

A bust of Carless stands on a plinth outside Walsall Museum (at 52°35′09″N 1°58′45″W / 52.585906°N 1.979087°W / 52.585906; -1.979087). The museum has a display on Carless, including a replica of his VC (it has the original in store, for security reasons), the ship's name-band from his uniform cap, and an oil portrait, commissioned by the Walsall Services Memorial Club.

Memorial plaque

In December 2009, a memorial plaque to Carless and two other recipients of the Victoria Cross, James Thompson and Charles George Bonner, was unveiled at the Walsall Town Hall.[2]


External links

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