Gloucestershire Regiment - Glosters Back Badge Club

RGBW Regimental Association

Forester - Francis George Miles V.C.

          France, October 1918.
During the closing stages of the great Allied advance.
Forester 17324 Francis George Miles
a Private soldier in the 1/5th Battalion
Gloucestershire Regiment won the Victoria Cross.


His citation reads:

For most conspicuous bravery and initiative in attack on October 23rd. 1918, during the advance against the Bois L'Eveque, when his company was held up by a line of enemy machine-guns in the sunken road near Moulin J.Jacques.

Private Miles alone, and on his own initiative, went forward, under exceptionally heavy fire, located a machine-gun, shot the gunner and put the gun out of action. Observing another gun nearby, he again advanced alone, shot the gunner, rushed the gun and captured the team of eight. Finally, he stood up and beckoned to his company, who, acting on his signals, were able to work round the rear of the line and to capture 16 machine-guns, one officer and 50 other ranks. It was due to the courage, initiative and entire disregard of personal safety shown by this gallant soldier that the company was able to advance at a time when the delay would have jeopardized seriously the whole operation.

Francis Miles was born a true 'Forester' in the village of Clearwell on the 9th. July 1896.

He attended the village school leaving at 13 years of age to work in the mines of the Princess Royal Coal Company.
At the age of 18 he enlisted with his stepfather, Frederick Clack, on the 28th. December 1914 into the 9th. Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment.

After training he was sent straight to France where he received his first baptism of fire.
He went on to see service in Salonika, the Somme, Abert, Ypres, Peronne and Italy.
In July of 1917 he was buried alive by an exploding shell and was the sole survivor out of 50 men. He came back to the U.K. and was sent to a Hospital in Halifax, Yorkshire, to recover and re-cooperate.

He recovered and was sent back to France, this time to the 5th. Battalion with whom he was to serve with such distinction.
With the war behind him Private Miles returned to his home village of Clearwell to a Hero's Welcome. The villagers presented him with a Gold Watch.

With the outbreak of WW2, Francis Miles was back in uniform and served with the Pioneer Corps.
In 1956 he was presented to the Queen at a special Victoria Cross Centenary Celebration (1856-1956).
Francis George Miles V.C. died in his home village of Clearwell in 1961 aged 65.

He is buried in the beautifully located churchyard at Clearwell. The Regimental Association and the Local Branch of the Royal British Legion visit his grave each November on the Sunday prior to Remembrance Sunday. Following prayers a wreath is laid.

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