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Victoria Cross Holders of the King's Own Royal Regiment

Private Jack White VC

Victoria Cross awarded to Private Jack White, number 18105, 6th (Service) Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment

Jack White was born Jacob Weiss on 23rd December 1896 in Leeds, the son of a Russian Jewish immigrant father and British mother. The family subsequently moved to the Hightown district of Manchester. At the outbreak of war he was in Sweden, but returned, enlisted in the 6th (Service) Battalion King’s Own and served throughout the war in the Middle East - at Gallipoli and in Mesopotamia (Iraq). He was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry during an attempted crossing of the Dialah River by Captain S. Patterson and 60 men of the Battalion, including White, on the night of 7/8th March 1917. The award was published in the 'London Gazette' of 27th June 1917:

“For most conspicuous bravery and resource. This signaller during an attempt to cross a river saw the two pontoons ahead of him come under heavy machine-gun fire, with disastrous results. When his own pontoon had reached mid-stream, with every man except himself either dead or wounded, finding that he was unable to control the pontoon Private White promptly tied a telephone wire to the pontoon, jumped overboard, and towed it to the shore, thereby saving the Officer’s life and bringing to land the rifles and equipment of the other men in the boat, who were either dead or dying.”

He returned home to a hero’s welcome and was one of only five Jewish men to win the Victoria Cross up to 1939.

After the war he lived in Broughton, Salford, and worked in the textile business. He was also a founder member of the Jewish Ex-Servicemen’s Association. In 1929 he attended the VC’s dinner at the House of Lords where he met Captain Patterson again for the first time since the war. At the outbreak of the Second World War he applied to join the Manchester Local Defence Volunteers (later Home Guard) but was rejected as his father had not been naturalised; the regulations were later changed, but he never forgot the slight. He served instead as a volunteer Air Raid Precaution worker. He died on 27th November 1949, aged 54, and was buried with full military honours in Blackley Jewish Cemetery near Manchester.

Private Jack White VC
Accession Number: KO1017/109

Grave of Jack White VC, Blackley Jewish Cemetery, Manchester.
Accession Number: KO1805/01 and KO2264/01 (Similar image)

Victor Comic which details the action for which Private White was awarded the Victoria Cross

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