Lance Corporal Samuel Frickleton

Born: 01/04/1887

Died: 01/09/1971

Unit: 3rd Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Location of VC action: Messines Ridge, Belgium

Date of VC action: 07/06/1917

Citation: “For most conspicuous bravery and determination when with attacking troops, which came under heavy fire and were checked. Although slightly wounded, Lance Corporal Frickleton dashed forward at the head of his section, rushed through a barrage and personally destroyed with bombs an enemy machine gun and crew, which were causing heavy casualties. He then attacked the second gun, killing the whole of the crew of twelve. By the destruction of these two guns he undoubtedly saved his own and other units from very severe casualties and his magnificent courage and gallantry ensured the capture of the objective. During the consolidation of the position he suffered a second severe wound. He set, throughout, a great example of heroism.”

Born in 1891 in Scotland, Frickleton moved to New Zealand in 1913 and was a miner when he enlisted with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in 1915. After suffering from a period of ill health and repatriation to New Zealand, Frickleton was posted to the 3rd Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade, then serving on the Western Front. Wounded during the Battle of Messines when carrying out the action that earned him the VC, he received medical treatment in England. He then underwent officer training, but his health was still poor and before the end of the war he was returned to New Zealand.

Post war, Frickleton served in the New Zealand Staff Corps before returning to civilian life in 1927. He tried farming and worked as a house manager. In the mid-1930s, Frickleton joined the part time Territorial Force and would be later awarded the Efficiency Decoration. He went to London in 1937 for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and again nearly 20 years later for the VC centenary. He served on the home front during the Second World War, and eventually retired from the military in 1948. He died in 1971 at the age of 80.

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