Brigadier Manley Angell James VC, DSO, MBE, MC (12 July 1896 – 23 September 1975) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
As a 21-year-old Temporary Captain in the 8th (S) Bn., The Gloucestershire Regiment, British Army during the First World War he was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery during the Spring Offensive.
He was born on the 12 July 1896 in Odiham, Hampshire. He was educated at Bristol Grammar School.
World War I
On 21 March 1918, near Velu Wood, France, Captain James led his company forward, capturing 27 prisoners and two machine-guns. Although wounded, he refused to leave his company and repulsed three enemy assaults the next day. Two days later, the enemy having broken through, he made a determined stand, inflicting heavy losses and gaining valuable time for the withdrawal of the guns. After holding out to the last to enable the brigade to be extricated, he led his company forward in a local counter-attack, being again wounded in the process. He was last seen working a machine-gun single-handed, was wounded a third time and eventually taken prisoner.
He was discharged from the army in 1919, and played for Clifton Rugby Football Club for a few years before receiving a new army commission.
World War II
At the start of World War II he was in command of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. In 1940 he was promoted to Brigadier, and served on the staff of the VIII Corps. The next year he was assigned as Commanding Officer of the 128th Brigade, serving in North Africa. He would command the 128th Brigade until being wounded 1943. Later that year he was assigned to the General Staff of the Middle East Command, and was transferred to the General Staff for Training Home Forces. Finally, in 1945 he became the Commanding Officer for the 140th Brigade.
After World War I
Between 1948 and 1951 he was the Director of Ground Defence for the Air Ministry. In 1951 he retired from the military at the rank of Brigadier.
His VC is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London.
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