SSAFA commemorates the First World War

Robert Bye VC

Stories from the First World War

Robert Bye VC

SSAFA volunteer Kevin Bye has shared the story of his heroic ancestor Robert Bye:

Robert Bye VC"Robert James Bye VC was the first Welsh recipient of the Victoria Cross. He enlisted in the newly formed Welsh Guards on 3 April 1915. Over the next 18 months he was promoted serveral times and by April 1917 he was a Sergeant. On 31 July, the 1st Welsh Guards were in the second wave of the attack, on the left wing, north of the Ypres-Staden railway from Boesingher. They succesfully reached Pilckem Ridge, then they met heavy resistance and Sergeant Bye saw the leading waves of men being fired on from two enemy blockhouses. Single-handedly he rushed one of the forst, using bombs to put the German garrison out of action. Later the same day he volunteered to take charge of clearing the pillboxes, taking many prisoners. 

Bye also served in the Second World War as a Sergeant Major in the Sherwood Foresters guarding prisoners of war until ill health (arising from his pit work) forced him to leave the army. He then served in the Home Guard and as a temporary police constable.

His Victoria Cross is displayed at The Guards Regimental Headquarters (Welsh Guards RHQ) in London."