William [‘Billy’] La Touche Congreve VC, DSO, MC – Commemoration, 20 July 2016

Ian L. Norris

This brief account describes the commemorative event on 20 July 2016 in Burton which marked the centenary of the death of Major Congreve on the Somme. Additional details are given which outline the history, after 1916, of Billy Congreve’s wife and daughter.

A description of Billy Congreve’s life, his VC Citation and his connection to Burton, are given in the accompanying article William [‘Billy’] La Touche Congreve VC, DSO, MC – a Burton Hero on this website.

Billy Congreve was killed on Thursday 20 July 1916 and on the afternoon of Wednesday 20 July 2016, to observe the centenary of his death, a short ceremony took place outside the Gladstone Village Hall during which a commemorative stone was unveiled. Representing the Congreve family was Ben Stephenson, a grandson of Billy Congreve.

The ceremony was opened by Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Trelawny who outlined the history of the Rifle Brigade, the regiment in which Billy Congreve served.

The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own) was an infantry rifle regiment formed in January 1800 (as the “Experimental Corps of Riflemen”) which had an illustrious service in both World Wars before its amalgamation with the 1st Green Jackets and the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, to form The Royal Green Jackets, on 1 January 1966.

Councillor Razia Daniels, Deputy Lord Mayor of Chester, gave a summary of Billy Congreve’s life before Billy’s VC Citation was read by Lieutenant Colonel Nick Jenkins OBE, onetime an officer with The Royal Green Jackets and from 1989 to 1992 the Commanding Officer of the 5th (Shropshire and Herefordshire) Battalion The Light Infantry.

The commemorative stone was unveiled by Councillor Razia Daniels and Bugle Major Mark Douglas played the Last Post, Reveille and No More Parades. Light refreshments, including a cake and cupcakes decorated with an image of the Victoria Cross, were served to the (approximately 50) persons attending the ceremony.