William Bruce (British Army officer)

William Bruce (British Army officer)

William Arthur McCrae Bruce (15 June 1890 - 19 December 1914) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces, following his death in combat during the Battle of Givenchy in France during World War I.

Born in Edinburgh on the 15th June 1890, William Bruce was educated in Jersey, Channel Islands at Victoria College, Jersey. From here, he moved to Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to complete his officer's training before entering combat during the First World War. Serving with the 59th Scinde Rifles of the Indian Army, he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military award for valour.


He was 24 years old, and a lieutenant in the 59th Scinde Rifles, Indian Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

His citation reads: "For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. On the 19th December, 1914, near Givenchy, during a night attack, Lt. Bruce was in command of a small party which captured one of the enemy's 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 skilful disposition made, and the example and encouragement shown by Lt. Bruce that his men were able to hold out until dusk, when the trench was finally captured by the enemy."

His V.C. was bought by Victoria College, Jersey the school in which he was educated. The school, in his honour, named one of the original four school houses after him. The others being Sartorius, Braithwaite and Dunlop – all (with the exception of Braithwaite who was mentioned in dispatches) being old boys and recipients of the V.C. Recently an additional house, Diarmid, was created to honour a previously unknown V.C. recipient. The relevant citations are recited each year on Remembrance Day.


*Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
*The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
*Scotland's Forgotten Valour (Graham Ross, 1995)
*VCs of the First World War - 1914 (Gerald Gliddon, 1994)
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=9919013 FindAGrave.com - Lieut William Arthur McRae Bruce] Includes a photograph of a plaque which honours him.----This page has been from the Victoria Cross Reference with permission.

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