Second Lieutenant Sidney Clayton Woodroffe VC, 8th Battalion The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's
Remembering the Fallen: On this day in 1915, Second Lieutenant Sidney Clayton Woodroffe VC, 8th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own), was killed in action in Flanders. On the day of his death at Hooge in Belgium, the enemy had broken through the centre of the British front trenches. This description is from the citation in the London Gazette: “Second Lieutenant Woodroffe's position was heavily attacked with bombs from the flank and subsequently from the rear, but he managed to defend his post until all his bombs were exhausted. He then skillfully withdrew his remaining men and immediately led them forward in a counter-attack under intense rifle and machine-gun fire, and was killed whilst in the act of cutting the wire obstacles in the open.” He has no known grave and is commemorated at the Menin Gate in Ypres and on the Lewes War Memorial. His medal is in the Lord Ashcroft V.C. Trust Collection in the Imperial War Museum. His brother, Kenneth Woodroffe, a cricketer who had played for Hampshire and Sussex, also served with the Rifle Brigade and was killed two months earlier. The war poet Captain Charles Sorley (himself killed later that year, age 20) wrote this for Sidney, titled “S.C.W., V.C.”
“There is no fitter end than this.
No need is now to yearn nor sigh.
We know the glory that is his,
A glory that can never die. Surely we knew it long before, Knew all along that he was made For a swift radiant morning, for A sacrificing swift night-shade.”
Sidney, from Lewes in Sussex, was 19 years old.