Douglas Walter Belcher VC
Born in Surbiton, Surrey on 15 July 1889, Douglas was educated at the Tiffin School in Kingston upon Thames until c.1903. After leaving school he worked for the furniture makers Waring and Gillow.
During the First World War, Douglas enlisted in the 1/5th (City of London) Battalion, London Regiment, also knows as the London Rifle Brigade. He rose to the rank of Lance-Sergeant.
Douglas was awarded the Victoria Cross for valour shown whilst on active service near Ypres, Belgium in 1915. He was then 25 years of age.
The following details of his actions appeared in the London Gazette, an official Government journal used to publish statutory notices:
Lance Sergt. Douglas Walter Belcher, 1/5th City of London Battalion, The London Regt.
On 13th May 1915, south of the Wieltje St Julien Road, Belgium, Lance Sgt. Belcher was in charge of a portion of an advanced breastwork during continuous bombardment of the enemy. The Lance Sgt, with very few men, elected to remain and try to hold his position after the troops near him had been withdrawn and with great skill he succeeded in his objective, opening rapid fire on the enemy, who were only 150 – 200 yards away, whenever he saw them collecting for an attack. This bold action prevented the enemy breaking through and averted an attack on the flank of one of our divisions.
London Gazette, May 1915
Douglas stayed in the army after the war and was later promoted to the rank of Captain. He served in Mesopotamia [ now Iraq ] during the Arab rising of 1921 and later in Burma. He retired in 1922 but suffered from depression, or what was then termed neurasthenia. It is possible that this may have been caused by his experiences during the First World War.
Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Douglas rejoined his brigade but was injured in 1940.
During the 1950s Douglas lived at 11 Alwynne Mansions, Wimbledon.
He died aged 63, in Claygate, Surrey and was buried at Holy Trinity churchyard. He is also commemorated on the Tiffin School war memorial.