The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration that can be awarded to any member of the British Army from its time as an Empire to the present day. One of the least known, yet fully deserving recipients was Lieutenant Frank de Pass of the Poona Horse Regiment.
Almost 100 years ago to the day, Lieutenant de Pass became a hero. The Poona Horse Regiment were under another day of heavy fire in the trenches of the Western Front. On 24th November 2014, the Germans seized the initiative by erecting a traverse that allowed them to throw bombs into the British trench. de Pass, along with Sowars Fateh Khan and Firman Shah, destroyed the traverse risking their own lives on the process. Later that day, de Pass also managed to save a wounded sepoy who was directly in the line of German fire.
The next day, de Pass attempted yet another heroic deed. The German onslaught had destroyed part of the British parapet, so he raced to repair it. Unfortunately, the Lieutenant’s luck would run out and he was shot by an enemy sniper.
Aged 27, he was the first Jewish recipient of the Victoria Cross and the first from the Indian Army in WW1 to be awarded the great honour. The National Army Museum is now displaying the brave Lieutenant’s medal online along with his full story. The Museum is currently running its First World War In Focus exhibition which can be seen here
This article is dedicated to Lieutenant de Pass, the Poona Horse Regiment and every soldier from the Western Front. RIP.
About the National Army Museum:
The National Army Museum explores the impact of the British Army on the story of Britain, Europe and the world; how Britain’s past has helped to shape our present and our future and how the actions of a few can affect the futures of many.
The National Army Museum was established by Royal Charter to tell the story of the Land Forces of the Crown wherever they were raised. Opened by the Queen in 1960, it moved to its current site in Chelsea in 1971. The National Army Museum is currently closed for renovations as part of its ambitious Building For The Future project. This will see the radical transformation of the NAM offer, maximising access to and engagement with the museum and its collection for on-site, off-site and online audiences. The Museum is set to reopen in 2016, visit www.nam.ac.uk for more information.