Lance-Corporal Charles Alfred Jarvis, VC

The Victoria Cross is Britain’s highest gallantry award, given for acts of outstanding courage. The 23 August 2014 marks the centenary of the day the first Victoria Crosses were awarded during the First World War.

Victoria Cross Gallantry Medal awarded to Lance Corporal Charles Alfred Jarvis.

Victoria Cross Gallantry Medal awarded to Lance Corporal Charles Alfred Jarvis.

Charles Alfred Jarvis was born in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire on the 28 March 1881.  During the First World War he served in the 57th Field Company of the Royal Engineers.

Charles Jarvis was one of five men to receive the Victoria Cross on the 23 August 1914.  Jarvis worked for over an hour under enemy fire while attempting to blow up a bridge over a canal at Jemappes in Belgium.

Detail of the reverse of the Victoria Cross, showing the name C.A.JARVIS and the date the medal was awarded, 23 AUG 1914.

Detail of the reverse of the Victoria Cross, showing the name C.A.JARVIS and the date the medal was awarded, 23rd August 1914.

‘Charles Alfred Jarvis, L-Corporal., No 3976, 57th Field Coy., Royal Engineers.  Date of Act of Bravery: 23 Aug. 1914.  For great gallantry at Jemappes on 23 Aug in working for one and a half hours under heavy fire in full view of the enemy, and in successfully firing charges for the demolition of a bridge’.  London Gazette 16 November 1914.

He received his medal from King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 13 January 1915.

Victoria Cross (at left), the 1914 Star with the ‘Mons’ bar, the British War Medal, and the Allied Victory Medal, awarded to Corporal Charles Alfred Jarvis, Royal Engineers.

Victoria Cross (at left), the 1914 Star with the ‘Mons’ bar, the British War Medal, and the Allied Victory Medal, awarded to Corporal Charles Alfred Jarvis, Royal Engineers.

The other medals are campaign medals rather than awards for gallantry.  The 1914 Star was given to everyone who served in France or Belgium between 5 August and 22 November 1914.  The bar on the ribbon is known as the Mons bar and indicates that the person had actually been under fire in that period.  The British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal were given to everyone who served in the war and its immediate aftermath.  The oak leaf on the ribbon of the Allied Victory Medal shows that Jarvis was mentioned in despatches for his bravery.

Charles Jarvis died in his native Scotland in 1948 at the age of 67.

See an image of Charles Alfred Jarvis and find out more about him on the Angus Council website.

David Symons, Curator.

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