Charles Allix Lavington Yate

Charles Allix Lavington Yate
Charles Allix Lavington Yate
Born 14 March 1872
Madeley, Shropshire
Died 20 September 1914 (aged 42)
Targau POW camp, Germany
Buried at Stahnsdorf, Germany
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1892 - 1914
Rank Major
Unit The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Battles/wars Tirah Campaign
Second Boer War
World War I
Awards Victoria Cross
Relations Sir Charles Yate, 1st Baronet (cousin)

Major Charles Allix Lavington Yate VC (14 March 1872 - 20 September 1914) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Yate, from Madeley, Shropshire, attended Sandhurst and joined the British Army. He saw service in British India, Mauritius, South Africa during the Second Boer War, as an observer during the Russo-Japanese War, and between 1908 and 1914 he was on the staff of the War Office in London.


Early life

Major Yate was born 14 March 1872 to the Reverend Prebendary George Edward Yate (1825–1908), the Vicar of St. Michael’s Church, Madeley from 1859 to 1908.[1]

Yate was educated at Weymouth College, and graduated from Sandhurst 9th out of 1100 cadets, and joined 2nd Battalion, the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry on 13 August 1892 in Bombay.[2] He first saw action in India in the Tirah expedition from 1897 to 1898, for which he was awarded the medal and clasp of the Tirah Expedition.[2] He was seriously wounded during the Boer War.[1]

On 17 September 1903 he married Florence Helena Brigg, from Greenhead Hall, Yorkshire.[1][2] There were no children.[1][2] His cousin was Sir Charles Yate, 1st Baronet.

He was promoted to the rank of major in 1912.[1] Yate was fluent in French, German and Japanese, and could also speak Hindustani and Persian.

VC action

Yate was 42 years old, and a major in the 2nd Battalion, The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, during the First World War when the following deed took place during the battle of Le Cateau for which he was awarded the VC.

On 26 August 1914 at Le Cateau, France, Major Yate commanded one of the two companies that remained to the end in the trenches, and when all other officers had been killed or wounded and ammunition exhausted, he led his 19 survivors against the enemy in a charge in which he himself was severely wounded. He [1][3] at Targau POW Camp.[2] He was captured by the Germans and interned in a prisoner of war camp. After repeated attempts, he escaped amonth later on 19 September 1914, but was quickly apprehended by local factory workers who suspected his appearance, and cut his own throat to avoid recapture and possible execution as a spy. He died on 20 September 1914.

Four other VCs were won that day at Le Cateau, including one by Lance Corporal Frederick William Holmes.[1]

Yate is buried in grave II. G. 8.[4] at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in Stahnsdorf, near Potsdam, Germany.[3]

The medal

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry Museum in the Doncaster Museum, England.[5]


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