Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1914 Captain Theodore Wright V.C., 56th Field Company, Corps of Royal Engineers, was killed at Vailly in France.
One of six children of a church minister, Captain Wright was educated at Clifton College and then attended the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. He was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1902, served in Gibraltar and Cairo, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1905.
By the outbreak of the Great War he had achieved the rank of captain and was sent to France, arriving at Mons on the 22nd of August, 1914. The following day he was supervising the destruction of eight bridges over the canal and was wounded by shrapnel while working on the Jemappes Bridge with Lance Corporal Charles Jarvis (also to be awarded the Victoria Cross), who reported: “The work on the bridge was done under fire from three sides. Near the bridge I found Captain Theodore Wright, wounded in the head. I wished to bandage him but he said, "Go back to the bridge. It must be done.””
On the day of his death Captain Wright had been assisting wounded men of the 5th Cavalry Brigade to shelter, at Vailly in France, for which he received the Victoria Cross. An officer wrote: "We got across the river...we had to go back over a pontoon bridge...under a very heavy fire too. At the end of the bridge was an Engineer officer repairing bits blown off and putting down straw as cool as a cucumber - the finest thing I ever saw. The poor fellow was killed just after my troops got across. No man earned a better Victoria Cross."
In a letter to Captain Wright’s mother, his commanding officer wrote: “No one has earned a VC better, and I am truly glad they have given it to him. I have known him so long, and I have always been very fond of him. He was one of the finest officers I have ever had, and I feel his loss every day.” Captain Wright is buried in the Vailly British Cemetery, a few miles east of Soissons in France; his Victoria Cross is displayed in the Royal Engineers Museum at Chatham.
Theodore, from Brighton, was 31 years old.