John Franks Vallentin VC

John Franks Vallentin was a Captain in the 1st Battalion South Staffordshire regiment. He appears alongside 2nd Lieutenant Wilmot Evans in the photos taken at the parade before King George V in Gibraltar in January 1912.

He would have been a colleague in the officers' mess throughout the period in Petermaritzburg in 1913-1914 and up to the first Battle of Ypres in October 1914.

I can only identify the photo here amongst the collection we have of Wilmot's colleagues as it is the same image used on the regimental web site. It is taken in Devonport, Plymouth where we know the battalion was posted in 1909 but there is no mark on the back.

Capt J F Vallentin like most of the officers of the First Battalion was killed in the first battle of Ypres. Although wounded and sick as a result of the earlier fighting on 25 and 26 October 1914, he returned from his hospital bed to lead one last assault on the German positions on 7 November. He was by then the most senior officer left in the battalion and his heroics and further wounds that killed him, were instrumental in retaking the lost position and led to him gaining the Victoria Cross.

This recognition was a small consolation to the battalion, which by some counts had lost 420 men, including 13 officers - over 90% of its number.