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The Channel Islands and the Great War
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Bruce, W A M

Neuve Chapelle Memorial

Neuve Chapelle Memorial

William Arthur McCrae Bruce, VC

Only son of Colonel Andrew McCrae and Margaret Hay Bruce of Roche d'Or, Samares, Jersey

Killed in action at Givenchy, aged 24 years

Plaque in St Clement's Church, Jersey

Educated at Victoria College, Jersey

Commemorated on:
Family memorial in St Clement's Church, Jersey
St Clement's Parish Memorial, Jersey
and on the OV Memorial, Jersey

William Arthur McCrea Bruce, the son of Colonel and and Mrs A McCrea of La Fontaine, St Clement, Jersey entered Victoria College in September 1904. In 1908 he attended Sandhurst where he was a King's India Cadet. Following his passing out in 1909 he travelled to India where he had to serve for twelve months in a British regiment before taking up his Indian Army commission. He was attached to the Northumberland Fusiliers while he learnt Urdu and was educated in the customs and traditions of India. In 1911 he was posted to the 59th Scinde Rifles where he served on the North West Frontier.

When war broke out in 1914 he was on leave in Jersey. His regiment was ordered to France and he rejoined them in Cairo en route for the Western Front.

The Victoria Cross was not awarded until nearly five years after Bruce was killed in action, as it was not until returning PoWs had been interrogated that the full facts of his action came to light.

NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Wednesday 23 December 1914

Killed in Action. We regret to announce that news has been received of the death in action near La Bassee on 20 December of Lieutenant W A Macrae Bruce of the Indian Army. The deceased was the only son of Colonel & Mrs Macrae Bruce of Roche d'Or, Samares, to whom we offer our sincere condolences.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record



William Arthur McCrae Bruce, V C

Lieutenant William Arthur McCrae Bruce, V C
59th Scinde Rifles (Frontier Force) Indian Army

Victoria Cross
1914-15 Star

William Arthur McCrae Bruce's V C

Gazetted for Victoria Cross on 4 September 1919


"For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. On the 19th December 1914, near Givenchy, during a night attack, Lieut. Bruce was in command of a small party which captured one of the enemy trenches. In spite of being severely wounded in the neck, he walked up and down the trench encouraging his men to hold on against several counter-attacks for some hours until killed. The fire from rifles and bombs was very heavy all day, and it was due to the skillful disposition made and the example and encouragement shown by Lieut. Bruce that his men were able to hold out until dusk, when the trench was finally captured by the enemy."

London Gazette, 4 September 1919

This Victoria Cross was presented to Victoria College by Old Victorians, Pupils and friends of the School on Thursday 26th November 1992.

NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Thursday 24 May 1917

Memorial to Lieutenant W A Macrae Bruce. A handsome brass memorial has now been placed on the south wall of the chancel of St Clements Church. This bears the badge of the 59th Schinde Rifles Frontier Force and the motto "Ready, Aye Ready". The inscription is a follows "To the glory of God and in proud and loving memory of William Arthur Macrae Bruce, Lieutenant 59th Schinde Rifles Frontier Force. Only son of Colonel Andrew Macrae Bruce CBE & Margaret his wife, who, when leading a bombing party of his regiment was killed in a German trench at Givenchy, near La Bassee, France on 19 December 1914 aged 24 years. Also to the honoured memory of those brave men of his regiment who refusing to leave him were killed with him"


Courtesy of Jersey Museum