Right of the Line

Ernest George Horlock V.C

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Ernest George Horlock VC (also known as Ernest George Harlock) (24 October 1885 – 30 December 1917) was an English 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.

 

Horlock was 28 years old, married to Ethel, and a Bombardier in the 113th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, British Army during the First World War. On 15 September 1914 at Vendresse, France, Horlock performed the actions for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

 

“For conspicuous gallantry on 15th September, near Vendresse, when his Battery was in action under a heavy shell fire, in that, although twice wounded, he persisted on each occasion in returning to lay his gun after his wound had been dressed.”

—London Gazette

 

In December 1917 Horlock was one of 2,500 troops who sailed from Marseille aboard the troop ship HMT Aragon to join the Egyptian Expeditionary Force’s Southern Palestine Offensive against the Ottoman Empire. On the morning of 30 December Aragon was no more than 10 miles from her destination at the Port of Alexandria in Egypt when the German submarine SM UC-34 torpedoed her, sinking her within 20 minutes. Aragon’s escort, the destroyer HMS Attack, rescued 300 to 400 survivors, but then UC-34 sank her as well.

 

Horlock was one of 610 personnel killed in the attack. His body was recovered and buried in Hadra War Memorial Cemetery, Alexandria.

100 years to the day, a small ceremony took place at Alton, Hampshire where the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson, unveiled a Victoria Cross Memorial stone commemorating Bombardier Horlock’s conspicuous gallantry.

In the neighbouring Assembly Rooms, Mr Digby Horlock proudly showed his Great Uncle’s (known to the Family as George) Victoria Cross. The VC was contained in its original Hancock’s card box.

Shortly after this ceremony, the Royal Armouries 18 Pounder field gun was fired 5 times in a nearby park by Ubique.

Image by Becki Dicker

Image by Becki Dicker