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  • Christina Drummond

Major Douglas Reynolds V.C., 37th Battery, the Royal Field Artillery

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1916, Major Douglas Reynolds V.C., 37th Battery, the Royal Field Artillery, died at Le Touquet in France from the effects of injuries sustained two months earlier.

One of five children of Honorary Lieutenant Colonel Henry Reynolds of the Royal Engineers, he was educated at Glyngarth Preparatory School and Cheltenham College, where he was a member of the Rifle Corps. He attended the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich and was commissioned in January of 1900. He served with the Mounted Infantry during the South African Wars, and later in India where he commanded No. 1 Ammunition Column.

After the outbreak of the Great War, Major Reynolds arrived in France on the 20th of August, 1914, where six days later at Le Cateau he was involved in the action which won him the Victoria Cross: he took two 18-year-old volunteer drivers to recapture two British guns, close to the enemy lines and under heavy artillery and infantry fire they managed to retrieve one of the guns. (The two volunteers were also awarded the Victoria Cross: Driver Job Drain, who went on to achieve the rank of sergeant and lived until 1975; and Driver Frederick Luke, who also achieved the rank of sergeant and served in the second world war as a ground gunner with the R.A.F. after which he was considered a legend - for several years until his death in 1983 he was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living holder of the Victoria Cross.)

Major Reynolds was seriously wounded on the Aisne in September of 1914 by a shrapnel bullet which could not be removed from his chest, and in November was awarded the French Croix de Chevalier de Legion d’Honneur. He married in March of 1915, and his son, Peter, was born at the end of January in 1916. Major Reynolds had been knocked out by a gas shell a month earlier and so never saw his son - during his recovery he contracted septicaemia, dying at the Duchess of Westminster’s Red Cross Hospital at Le Touquet. His son went on to serve with the Irish Guards and was killed during the evacuation of Dunkirk. Major Reynolds is buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery at Pas-de-Calais in France.

Douglas, from Bristol, was 33 years old.

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