Centenary of the first Salonika Victoria Cross

Northern Greece, 22/23 October 1916

In a … raid on the night of 22/23 October 1916, 300 men of the 11th Welsh raided an enemy strongpoint known as The Dorsale, near Machukovo. the Battalion had never been in action before and gave a very good account of itself, destroying a machine-gun emplacement and bringing back eighteen prisoners. During the raid, Pte Hubert [‘Stokey’] William Lewis was wounded three times but refused to retire from the enemy trenches. he went on to capture three Germans and during the withdrawal brought in the wounded 2/Lt Turner from No Man’s Land. For his bravery and devotion to duty, Lewis was awarded the first Victoria Cross of the Salonika Campaign.

From ‘Under the Devil’s Eye’ by Wakefield & Moody (Sutton Publishing, 2004 p132).

Notes

  • Machukovo was the Bulgarian name of a village in northern Greece on the frontier with occupied Serbia. Since 1927 the village has been named Evzonoi. It is now the end point of Motorway 1 from Athens and is the main crossing point between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
  • Born in Milford Haven in 1896, ‘Stokey’ Lewis worked as a fish packer before joining the 11th (Service) Battalion of the Welsh Regiment – known as the Cardiff Pals –  in 1914.
  • His Victoria Cross was announced on 15 December 1916 and caused great excitement in South Wales. Awarded in the following February it was bought by Lord Ashcroft in 1999 and is on public display at the Imperial War Museum in London.
  • ‘Stokey’ Lewis survived the war and returned to live in Milford Haven. He served in the Home Guard in the Second World War. He died in 1977 aged 80 and is buried in Milford Haven Cemetery. He is remembered in the Milford Haven Memorial Gardens and the town museum, as well as on the Haverfordwest War Memorial.
Photograph of Pte Hubert [‘Stokey’] William Lewis VC, reproduced from 'Heroes of the Victoria Cross', Chapter CCXXVI of 'The Great War' (Volume 10, page 616).
Photograph of Private Hubert [‘Stokey’] William Lewis VC, reproduced from ‘Heroes of the Victoria Cross’, Chapter CCXXVI of ‘The Great War’ (Volume 10, page 616).

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Author: SCS Web Editor

Robin Braysher joined the SCS in 2003 and soon after became editor of the Society's journal, 'The New Mosquito', a role he held until 2008. He then became the Society's web editor, a role he seems unable to shake off. His interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915-1917, mainly in the Struma valley.

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