Queens Own Highlanders

(Seaforth & Camerons)

Regimental Association

Sergeant Thomas Steele VC

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Sergeant Thomas Steele 1st Seaforth Highlanders wins the Victoria Cross for gallantry at Sanniyat, Mesopotamia, 22nd February 1917.

During the attack on Sanniyat No 811 Sergeant Thomas Steele, from Oldham in Lancashire, was awarded the Victoria Cross.

His citation reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty near Sanniyat, Mesopotamia, on 22nd February 1917.  At a critical moment, when a strong enemy counter attack had temporarily regained some of the captured trenches, Sergeant Steele rushed forward and assisted a comrade to carry a machine gun into position.  He kept the gun in action till relieved, being mainly instrumental in keeping the remainder of the line intact.  Some hours later, a strong attack enabled the enemy to reoccupy a portion of the captured trenches.  Again Sergeant Steele showed the greatest bravery, and by personal valour and example was able to rally troops who were wavering.  He encouraged them to remain in the trenches and led a number forward, thus greatly helping to establish our line.  On this occasion he was severely wounded.  These acts of valour were performed under very heavy artillery and rifle fire.”

(London Gazette 8th June 1917)