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
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
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