Lieutenant the Honourable Christopher Furness V.C., 1st Battalion, the Welsh Guards
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1940, Lieutenant the Honourable Christopher Furness VC, 1st Battalion, the Welsh Guards, was killed in action near Arras.
The eldest son of the 1st Viscount Furness, he was educated at Eton College, and joined the army at the outbreak of the second world war. Commanding the Carrier Platoon, he had been sent to France with his battalion, which formed part of the garrison at Arras.
On the day of his death his battalion was protecting the rear of the British and French forces during the Allied retreat at Dunkirk. He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his actions that day - the Citation tells the story: "His extremely high degree of leadership and dash imbued his command with a magnificent offensive spirit during their constant patrols and many local actions throughout. On May 22nd he was wounded, but refused to be evacuated. The enemy had encircled the town on three sides, and Lt. Furness's platoon, together with a small force of light tanks, were ordered to cover the withdrawal of over 40 transport vehicles to Douai. Heavy small arms and anti-tank gun fire blocked the column. Lt. Furness, realising the seriousness of the situation, with three carriers and the light tanks attacked at close quarters the strongly entrenched enemy, inflicting heavy losses. His carriers were hit, most of their crews killed or wounded, and the tanks were put out of action. When his own carrier was disabled and the driver and gunner killed, Lt. Furness, despite his wounds, engaged the enemy in hand to hand combat until he was killed. His magnificent act of self-sacrifice against hopeless odds made the enemy withdraw long enough to allow the large transport column to get clear unmolested, and to permit the evacuation of some of the wounded of his own platoon and of the light tanks."
His body was never recovered, so he has no known grave, but he is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial, Department du Nord, Pas-de-Calais in France.
Christopher, from London, was 28 years old.