John Standish Surtees Prendergast Vereker Gort was a Lieutenant-Colonel when he won the VC on 27 Sep 1918. At the Canal du Nord near Flesquieres, France, Lt-Col Gort led the 1st Battalion under heavy fire and, although wounded, when the battalion was held up, he went across open ground to obtain assistance. He found a tank and directed it towards the German guns. He was wounded a second time and placed on a stretcher, but he got up and directed a further attack which was successful and resulted in the capture of 200 prisoners, two batteries of field guns and numerous machine guns. He finally allowed himself to be taken away when success had been signalled.
Gort was born on 10 Jul 1886 in London into the Prendergast Vereker noble dynasty, an old Anglo-Irish aristocratic family, and grew up in County Durham and the Isle of Wight. The family peerage, Viscount Gort, was named after Gort, a town in County Galway in the West of Ireland. In February 1946, the month before his death, he was created a Viscount in the Peerage of the United Kingdom under the same title as his existing Viscountcy in the Peerage of Ireland: upon his death on 31 March 1946 without a surviving son, the Irish Viscountcy of Gort passed to his brother, and the British creation became extinct .
As Lieutenant in the Grenadiers he attended the catafalque of King Edward VII and in the same year went moose hunting in Canada. This was a disastrous trip because he accidentally shot his native American guide and had to return to England immediately. His marriage to a second cousin was also touched with tragedy. They had 2 sons and a daughter but divorced soon afterwards. The second son died before he was two years old. The first son joined the Grenadier Guards but died in World War 2 in Feb 1941. Their daughter Jacqueline married Viscount De L' Isle. During World War 1, not only did Viscount Gort win the VC but also the MC and the DSO with 2 bars. He was mentioned in despatches 8 times.
As Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Gort, in 1938, advocated the primacy of building a land army and defending France and the Low Countries over Imperial defence after France had said she on her own would not be able to defend herself against a German attack. During the war he was governor of Malta during the siege of that island. He organised the extension of the runway on reclaimed land by the sea, against British Government advice but was thanked for it afterwards.
1886 Born 10 July
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