cross patté (described in the Royal Warrant as a 'Maltese cross of bronze') having at its centre a crown surmounted by 'lion gardant'; beneath the crown an ornamentally draped scroll bearing the motto: 'FOR VALOUR'. Raised borders outline the shape of the cross. The plain reverse bears a central circle (with raised edge) to enclose the date of the act of gallantry. The suspension bar comprises a straight laurelled bar with integral 'V' lug; the plain reverse of the suspension bar is engraved with details of the recipient. The 1½-inch wide ribbon is crimson.
[Note: originally the ribbon was dark blue for Royal Navy recipients and crimson (described as 'red' in the Warrants) for the Army. After the formation of the Royal Air Force (1 April 1918) the crimson ribbon (sometimes described as 'claret', 'maroon' or 'dark red') was adopted for all recipients. When present, a straight laurelled Bar (in the same form as the suspension bar but without the 'V' lug) indicates a subsequent award.]
Victoria Cross awarded to Corporal Charles Ernest Garforth (23 October 1891-1 July 1973) 15th (The King's) Hussars
Medal citation, London Gazette of 16 November 1914; 'At HARMIGNIES, on 23 August, volunteered to cut wire under fire which enabled his squadron to escape. At DAMMARTIN he carried a man out of action. On 3 September, when under Maxim fire, he extricated a sergeant whose horse had been shot, and by opening fire for three minutes, enabled the sergeant to get away safely.'
Charles Garforth, who was born in London, transferred from a Territorial battalion of the Middlesex Regiment into the regular army in 1911, joining the 15th (The King's) Hussars. He sailed to France with 'A' Squadron on 16 August 1814, fighting with his unit in the opening battles of the campaign in France. During these actions he performed three specific acts of bravery that led to the award of the Victoria Cross.
On 23 August 1914 he managed to cut a way through a wire fence whilst under enemy machine-gun fire. This enabled his troop to escape encirclement. Several days later, during the retreat from Mons, Garforth went to the rescue of a comrade who was trapped under his fallen horse. In spite of heavy fire Garforth freed the cavalryman and carried him out of danger. The third incident is described in the citation announcing the award of the VC that appeared in the London Gazette of 16 November 1914; "On 3rd September, when under Maxim fire, he extricated a Sergeant whose horse had been shot and by opening fire for three minutes enabled the Sergeant to get away safely." By the time the announcement appeared, Garforth was a prisoner of war. On 13 October 1914 he was captured by the Germans and, despite making several attempts to escape, he was recaptured each time on the frontier with neutral Holland. Garforth finally received his VC from HM The King at an investiture held at Buckingham Palace on 19 December 1918. Graforth died at Beeston, Nottinghamshire in July 1973, aged 83.
The IWM holds all Garforth's medals (Ref: OMD 2877-2892) together with a photograph of him with his wife (Ref: HU48670).
The Department of Exhibits & Firearms also holds a number of papers and associated documents (Ref: 251/84)