Private Samuel Needham V.C.
Rank or Title
Date of Birth
16 Aug 1885
Date of Death
4 Nov 1918
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Samuel Needham was born in Great Limber, Lincolnshire on the 16th August 1885, to Septimus and Mary Needham. His father was one of Lord Yarborough's grooms and Sam was to follow in his fathers footsteps. When he left the Brockesby Stables, he worked in several other hunting stables, including the Duke of Westminster's and the Earl of Fitzwilliam's.
When war broke out in August 1914, Sam's parents had both passed away and he was living with his married sister (Mrs Baron) at 6 Astley Street in Hull. His interest in and experience with horses led him to enlist initially as Private RTS/5023 in the Army Service Corps and he went to France on the 13th January 1915. Having been wounded and recovered in England, he was posted to the 1st/5th Bedfords in Palestine and was to become the Battalion's only winner of this most coveted bravery award. His complete disregard for personal safety and "berserk fury" when faced with overwhelming odds saved his patrol from certain destruction.
He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions as cited below.
"For most conspicuous bravery and initiative when with a strong patrol which was heavily attacked by the enemy and forced back in confusion. At this critical moment Private Needham ran back and fired rapidly at a body of the enemy at point-blank range. The patrol had many casualties, but successfully got back all their wounded, and it was due to the action of individuals, of which this is the most outstanding, that the entire patrol was not cut off. Private. Needham's example was of the greatest value at a critical moment, and the bold and determined stand made by him did more than anything to inspire confidence, and undoubtedly saved a critical situation."
Private Needham’s Victoria Cross Citation
The London Gazette, No. 30982, dated 29th Oct 1918
Further information can be found on the Bedfordshire Regiment site here