Victoria Cross, Sergeant Samuel George Pearse, 45 Battalion, Royal Fusiliers

Place Asia: Russia, North Russia
Accession Number AWM2017.382.1.1
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Bronze
Location Main Bld: Hall of Valour: Main Hall: East Africa, Palestine & North Russia
Maker Hancocks
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made c 1920
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Victoria Cross. Engraved reverse suspender with recipient's details; reverse cross with date of action.

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History / Summary

Samuel George Pearse was born in Penarth, Glamorganshire, Wales on 16 July 1897. He gave his occupation as trapper when he enlisted in the AIF on 5 July 1915. He served briefly on Gallipoli leading up to the evacuation before moving to the Western Front where he was twice wounded. For his actions at Glencorse Wood near Ypres in September 1917, he was awarded the Military Medal.

Following the Armistice, Pearse discharged from the AIF and joined the North Russia Relief Force. Near Emsta, North Russia, in August 1919 Pearse, unassisted, silenced a heavily defended enemy blockhouse but was killed shortly afterwards. For his actions he was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. The citation for the award reads:

'For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty and self-sacrifice during the operation against the enemy battery position north of Emsta (North Russia) on the 29th August 1919. Sergeant Pearse cut his way through the enemy barbed wire under very heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, and cleared a way for the troops to enter the battery position. Seeing that a block-house was harassing our advance and causing us casualties, he charged the block-house single-handed, killing the occupants with bombs. This gallant non-commissioned officer met his death a minute later, and it was due to him that the position was carried with so few casualties. His magnificent bravery and utter disregard for personal danger won him the admiration of all troops.’

Pearse's Victoria Cross is accompanied by the Military Medal and the 1914-15 Star. His remaining service medals for the First World War are not held by the Memorial.