Queen Victoria’s Rifles HQ, 56 Davies Street, London

ImageThe badge of the Queen Victoria’s Rifles provides a reminder of World War I in one of London’s most well-heeled districts.

It adorns the wall of 56 Davies Street, where the unit (officially the 9th County of London Battalion) was based at the outbreak of war in 1914 and where it acontinued to have a presence throughout World War I and beyond.

The battalion landed at Le Havre on 5 November 1914 and was heavily engaged at Hill 60, Ypres, on 17 April 1915. Despite numerous casualties the unit repulsed a German counter attack and one of its officers, lieutenant Geoffrey Wooley, was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Wooley was the son of the Reverend George Wooley, the curate of St Matthew’s Church, Upper Clapton, Hackney. He had studied at Queen’s College, Oxford, and looked set for an ecclesiastical career before the war broke out.

His VC citation read: ‘For most conspicuous bravery on “Hill 60” during the night of 20th–21st April, 1915. Although the only officer on the hill at the time, and with very few men, he successfully resisted all attacks on his trench, and continued throwing bombs and encouraging his men until relieved. His trench during all this time was being heavily shelled and bombed and was subjected to heavy machine gun fire by the enemy.’

After the war Wooley resumed his theology studies at Oxford and later worked as a parish priest and as the chaplain of Harrow School. He rejoined the army in World War II and served as a major in the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department.

For film footage showing men of the Queen Victoria’s Rifles in 1914, click here.

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6 Responses to Queen Victoria’s Rifles HQ, 56 Davies Street, London

  1. sylvia fitzgerald says:

    Can anyone help me to discover more about my Father,s war , . William Edward Glasscock born in London 1898. At 16 years of age he joined the Army in London The Queen Victoria Rifles . Given a false age, He was at Passendael and believed he was gassed also had legs injured and paralysed which did recover in time. He died in 1952 at age 54 in Hemel Hempstead Herts , I am the eldest daughter and we should love to learn more of what and where he was in the war.. I live in Australia ,Difficult to make my own enquires so far away . I do remember him having his badge in earlier years ,but do not know what happened to it Any help would be very much welcome by those of us left Most Sincerely Sylvia Fitzgerald.

    • Chris Elsdon says:

      Hello Sylvia,
      I just wondered if anybody had contacted you or if you had managed to find out anything yet? If not, I may be able to help you. My great uncle was with the Queen Victoria’s Rifles, and I have spent a little bit of time researching them. Send me an email if you would like any help.
      Regards,

      Chrios

  2. Miles Bingham says:

    My grandfather, Horace Braunston, served with the 2nd battalion QVR. I believe he was gassed on Sep 8th 1917 at St Julien during an attack that was part of the 3rd battle of Ypres. 8 or 9 other QVR soldiers were withdrawn from the battle in that engagement when a British gas shell dropped short on the troops waiting to advance! Perhaps your own father was one of these? My own grandfather was invalided out of the war. I remember that he coughed all his life, although he lived to his early 80’s, so was luckier than most.

  3. Ian P says:

    There is an online viewable history of the 1st & 2nd battalions of the QVR in WW1 athttp://lib.militaryarchive.co.uk.
    I am researching the commanding officer of the 2nd Btn, Lt-Col Andrew Reginald BERRY (died in France 1917), for the purpose of rededicating war memorial of the firm he worked for, Joseph Travers & Sons Ltd, Wholesale Grocers of 119 Cannon Street London, and happy to hear from any one whose relations worked for the firm at any time. I have a list of all employess in the forces in October 1917.

  4. Barrie Dady says:

    My Great Uncle 392878 Rifleman Joseph Alfred Dady died on 14/8/1917 while serving with 1st Battn Queen Victoria’s Rifles. he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin gate. Would anyone have any information on any memorials in the UK to the men of the regiment who gave their lives in WW1 or any actions they took part in during that terrible conflict.
    Regards
    Barrie Dady

    • Ian Parrott says:

      As per above post of November 2015 I am interested in the QVR’s through my research in to Lt-Col Andrew BERRY, CO of 2nd Bn QVR 1914-1917

      Have checked the memorial booklet dated 1917 of Joseph Travers & Sons & Joseph DADY does not appear there or on the companies war memorial.

      The QVR’s have a large memorial to all their fallen of WW1 (no names given) at Hill 60 in France. This was unveiled in 1921/2 by Lt Col PE PARRY DSO then Col of the regiment, who was in 1917 2nd i/c 2nd Bn QVR & took over from Lt Col Andrew BERRY as Col of 2nd bn when he died in France in 1917. The chaplain who officiated at the religious service at the unveiling was Lt Geoffrey Woolley VC, who had won his VC with the QVR’s at Hill 60 in 1915.
      A photo of the memorial appears on the wikipedia page of the QVR’s

      Post WW1 there was a large (wooden ?) memorial board in the QVR’s HQ in Davies Street listing names & I found a photo of this in the Regimental WW1 history book:
      The history of the 1st & 2nd battalions of the QVR in WW1 at http://lib.militaryarchive.co.uk.
      I am not sure if it is still there, but would love to know if it is, as I have not yet contacted the battalion or visited Davies Street.

      Also all soldiers from London are remembered by the evocative “London Soldiers” memorial outside the Royal Exchange in the City of London. It does not list individual names, but does list all the units from London it comemerates. All of the units, including the QVR were given smaller replicas of the memorial & I assume this is still at Davies Street ?

      I also believe all QVR casualties are listed in an appendix in the regimental history book shown above.

      As to actions they took part in you could do no better than looking at their Wikipedia page, the online regimental history book as above and the battalions war diaries which are at The National Archives, but have been scanned and placed on ancestry.co.uk

      Ian P.

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