What Royston Did ... 

Accounts of Royston people from the Great War

Harold Ackroyd, VC, MC

image harold ackroyd

Captain, Royal Army Medical Corps, attached to the 6th Battalion, the Royal Berkshire Regiment

Harold Ackroyd was educated at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and Guys Hospital, London gaining an MD in 1910.

Granted a British Medical Association scholarship at Downing Research Laboratory, Cambridge, he moved to Royston in 1908 living at “Brooklands”, Kneesworth Street with his wife Mabel and his three children.

He was awarded the Military Cross during the Battle of the Somme as a result he was invalided home to rest. 

Harold Ackroyd was shot in the head by a snipper whilst attending wounded soldiers. He died 11 August 1917 aged 40 and is buried in the Birr Cross Roads Cemetery, Belgium.

"Harold Ackroyd" by Wellcome Library, London
Licensed under CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Military Cross

For the award of the Military Cross, Temporary Captain Harold Ackroyd, MD, Royal Army Medical Corps.

“ For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during operations. He attended the wounded under heavy fire, and finally, when he had seen that all our wounded from behind the line had got in, he went out beyond the front line and brought in both our own and enemy wounded, although continually snipped at ”

London Gazette, 20 October 1916

“ He seemed to be everywhere; he tended and bandaged scores of men, for to him fell the rush of cases round Clapham Junction and towards Hooge. But no wounded man was treated hurriedly or unskilfully. Ackroyd worked as stoically as if he were in the quiet of an operating theatre. When it was all over and the reports came in, it was found there were twenty-three separate recommendations of his name for the Victoria Cross ”

From a report by the 18th Division historian

Victoria Cross

For the award of the Victoria Cross, Ypres, Belgium, 31 July to 1 August 1917, Captain Harold Ackroyd, MD, Royal Army Medical Corps.

“ Captain Ackroyd worked continuously, utterly regardless of danger, saving lives and tending to the wounded men in the front line under heavy fire. Having carried one wounded officer to safety on his back he returned to bring another under snipper fire. His heroism was the means of saving many lives, and provided a magnificent example of courage, cheerfulness and determination to the fighting men in whose midst he was carrying out his splendid work. "

London Gazette, 6 September 1917

Reports in the Royston Crow

Captain Ackroyd’s death

The edition of 24th August announced the death of Captain Harold Ackroyd of the Army Medical Corps. The article covered his education and army career.

At the time the extent of his bravery was not widely known.

Award of the Victoria Cross

It was not until 7th September that readers of the Crow discovered that Captain Ackroyd was to be awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery.