On October 14, 1918, one hundred years ago, Thomas Ricketts, together with his section commander, Matthew Brazil, volunteered to outflank a major enemy battery. Their selfless act of bravery that day saved the lives of many of their comrades.
Tommy would receive the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the presence of the enemy that can be awarded to a member of the British and Commonwealth Armed Forces. Matthew was given the second highest award that could be conferred on a non-commissioned officer for his role. Both would be recognized by the French Government with a Croix de Guerre.
Ricketts, the only member of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment to receive the Victoria Cross, acquired his from King George V on January 19, 1919 in a private ceremony at the King’s private estate in Sandringham. The King wrote in his diary the next day: “Yesterday I gave the V.C. to Private Ricketts, Newfoundland Regiment, who is only 17 1/2 now, a splendid boy.”
The Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum pays tribute to their heroic actions.