Second Lieutenant Gabriel Coury was in charge of two platoons at Arrow Head copse near Guillemont, France.
Bravery came on 8th August 1916 at The Battle Of The Somme. The order from above came for Gabriel and his men to dig a communication trench while coming under heavy fire from the enemy. Digging a trench can’t be easy but even worse when against hidden Germans with machines guns. However the trench was dug, Gabriel keeping up the spirits of his men at times.
Later, after his battalion had suffered many deaths he saw the Major Swainson had been wounded. Gabriel ran out in broad daylight against fiendish machine-gun fire to find the Major. German snipers were after him from the first but he ran on regardless of the hail of bullets flying around him. He reached the spot where the Major was, rested then carried him back. The enemy redoubled their efforts to kill both soldier and they disappeared from the view of the British arm for a while. He re-appeared and carried on, machine guns turned on full-blast. The Major as returned to safety though (but he later died.)
Gabriel then got together the men of different units and thoroughly organised their position. When the enemy tried to attack they were thrown back in confusion, and the counter-attack was pressed home.
He received his Victoria Cross from King George V in November 1916 at a ceremony on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.
He didn’t return to Liverpool for long though and was soon flying over the Western Front in March 1917. His last contact with the Germans was while flying a BE-2 aircraft which was shot down. He survived “Bloody April” 1917, the worst month in the history of the Royal Flying Corps, when the Germans almost drove the British from the sky. Just a month later he was back in Britain to re-train as a pilot. However, two serious crashes ended his flying career and he ended the war in the administration branch of the Royal Air Force.
He was married with three daughters and returned to Liverpool where he continued to work in the cotton industry.
When Word War II started he re-joined the army in World War II and returned to France serving with an anti-aircraft unit. After the war he found the cotton industry in steep decline and opened a fish and chip shop in Brunswick Road, Liverpool “The Frying Pan.”.)
His ill faded and he died at home in at 59. He was buried here in small graveyard in Crosby with full military honours