2nd Lieutenant Valentine Oland(M.C)
Died. 1st July 1916, France.
Valentine Oland partly of French descent spent the greater part of his life, prior to the war in Paris, France. When war broke out he was commissioned, as a 2nd Lt into the 14th (reserve) battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment.
Early in May 1916 2nd Lt Oland was posted to the “Leeds Pals”, and joined them at Bus Les Artois in France, where he was attached to “B” Company.
On the night of 22nd May 1916 the Germans tried to get into the “Pals” trenches but were driven back by 2nd Lt Oland who had gathered together a bombing party, rallied the wiring party and counter attacked, driving the Germans into the sights of one of the battalions Lewis guns.
For this action 2Nd Lt Valentine Oland was awarded the Military Cross and 15/204 Cpl Joseph Clark was awarded the Military Medal. These were the battalion’s first gallantry awards.
The ribbon of the M.C was pinned onto the chest of 2nd Lt Valentine Oland by Major General Wanless O’Gowan at the battalion parade on the 29th June 1916.
Citation of the awarded Military cross London Gazette 27th July 1916:
Lt V Oland, 14th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment attached 15th Battalion (Posthumous)
“For conspicuous courage when attacked by a hostile raiding party, 2nd Lt Oland jumped on the parapet, rallied our wiring party who had been bombed, and finally drove off the enemy, who were superior in numbers”
On the 1st July 1916 the first day of the “Battle of the Somme” 2nd Lt Valentine Oland was killed in action. His body was never found.
He is commemorated on the Thiepville Memorial.