Harry Greenwood VC

Born at Victoria Barracks, Windsor, Berkshire on 25 Nov 1881, Harry was the eldest son of Charles Greenwood and his wife Margaret. The couple also had eight other children.

A natural soldier, Harry had a distinguished military career. He served with distinction in both the 1st and 2nd Boer War, for which he received the Queen's South Africa medal with 4 clasps ( 1899 - 1902 ), having fought in the Cape Colony, the Orange Free State, Johannesburg and Diamond Hill. He also received the King's South Africa Medal ( 1902 ) with two clasps. In addition to this he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and a Military Cross.

By the First World War, he had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the 9th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and in 1916 was made a Temporary Major. It was during the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme that he performed an act of valour for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The following account was printed in the London Gazette, an official Government publication. 

Temporary Major ( Acting Lieut. Colonel ) Harry Greenwood DSO, MC. 9th Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty and fine leadership on 23/24 October 1916. When the advance of his battalion on 23rd October was checked and many casualties caused by an enemy machine gun post, Lieutenant Colonel Greenwood single-handedly rushed the post and killed the crew. At the entrance to the village of Ovillers, accompanied by two battalion runners, he again rushed a machine gun post and killed the occupants.

On reaching the objective west of Duke’s Wood his command was almost surrounded by hostile machine gun posts and the enemy at once attacked his isolated force. The attack was repulsed and led by Lieutenant Colonel Greenwood, his troops swept forward and captured the last objective, with 150 prisoners, eight machine guns and one field gun. During the attack on Green Line, south of Poix du Nord, on 24th October, he again displayed the greatest gallantry in rushing a machine gun post and he showed conspicuously good leadership in the handling of his command in the face of heavy fire. He inspired his men in the highest degree, with the result that the objective was captured and in spite of heavy casualties, the line was held.

During the further advance on Grand Gay Farm Road, on the afternoon of 24th October the skilful and bold handling of his battalion was productive of most important results, not only in securing the flank of his brigade but also in safeguarding the flank of the Division. His valour and leading during the two days of fighting were beyond praise.

London Gazette, 24th December 1918

In 1919, Harry retired from the Army and resumed his career as a company director. He live at 77 Home Park Road, Wimbledon from 1930 onwards. During World War II, he served with the Pioneer Corps and was made an O.B.E in 1944.

Harry died at his Wimbledon home on 5 May 1948. He was buried at Putney Vale Cemetery, where one of the pathways was also named Greenwood Road in his honour.