Military Cross George V, British War Medal, Victory Medal with M.I.D. Oakleaf, with M.I.D. oakleaf (Capt. R.W. Lewis) Capt. W. R. Lewis. Royal Engineers. EF
Died of wounds age 36 25.8.1918 whilst service with the 284th A.T. Co. Royal Engineers. M.C. L.G. 26.7.1918 a posthumous award.
‘ T/Capt., Wallenstein Ryan Lewis, R.E.
‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. The enemy having captured a village, he counter attacked under heavy shell fire, established his company in front of it and dug in, he held his position with great courage and coolness for seven hours till nearly surrounded, and then successfully withdrew. Whilst holding the position he was wounded.’
Mentioned in Field Marshall Douglas Haig’s Despatches of 14.12.1917.
He trained as a mining engineer starting in his father’s office the late H. Ryan Lewis, for six months, 15 months with the Liquid Fuel Engineering Company, Cowers and three months with the Thames Mining Machinery Company. In 1900 he entered a contract with St. Marys Lead Works, Mary Anne mine, Menheniot Cornwall. Sold with a good work resume including South Russia.
What was a Royal Engineer doing counter-attacking with his company and holding out for seven hours before withdrawing? This is not the normal role of a sapper in wartime. And was the wounding referred to the cause of his death? The date of his death. 25th March 1918, makes me wonder if he was wounded on that day, the day the German spring offensive reached Noyon. The rate of their advance eventually leading to General Haig to issue his famous ‘back to the wall’ order on 11th April.