Fredrick George Dancox was born in Claines, Worcester in 1878. Brought up in the city he was educated at St. Stephen’s School. He worked as a hay cutter on many local farms before enlisting into the 4th Battalion the Worcestershire Regiment.
The 4th Battalion fighting in the Ypres Salient were ordered on the 9th October 1917 to attack the ground near the village of Poel Cappelle. The Battalion had to fight their way forward across a small stream and capture two successive objectives. On each objective they had to pause and entrench before a fresh battalion of Newfoundlanders to continue the advance. Having taken the first objective with relative ease the leading companies were pinned down by a German concrete block-house. The devastating machine gun fire from the block-house could not be stopped with rifle fire and there was no quick means of communicating with our own guns still firing beyond the objective.
Private Fredrick George Dancox was part of a “mopping up” party detailed before the battle to deal with any “strong points” missed by the barrage. Private Dancox found himself out in front alone, the rest of his party having been shot or separated. With cool courage he made his way unobserved to the back of the block-house. With a Mills bomb ready in his hand he walked inside into the midst of the enemy. He ordered them out of the block-house having dismounted the weapon which he carried back in triumph to his own lines accompanied by about 40 terrified enemy.
His Citation reads
“For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in attack at Boesinghe Sector on the 9th of October, 1917. After the first objective had been captured and consolidation had been started, work was considerably hampered, and numerous casualties were caused by an enemy machine gun firing from a concrete emplacement situated on the edge of our protective barrage. Private Dancox was one of a party of about ten men detailed as moppers-up. Owing to the position of the machine gun emplacement, it was extremely difficult to work around a flank. However this man with great gallantry worked his way round through the barrage and entered the “pill-box” from the rear, threatening the garrison with a Mills bomb. Shortly afterwards he reappeared with a machine gun under his arm, followed by about 40 enemy. The machine gun was brought back to our position by Private Dancox, and he kept it in action throughout the day. By his resolution, absolute disregard for danger and cheerful disposition, the morale of his comrades was maintained at a very high standard under extremely trying circumstances.”
London Gazette, 26th November 1917
Dancox was killed on 30th November 1917 aged 38 years. He had only heard of the award of the VC three days earlier and was due to go on two weeks leave on the day of his death. His widow and four children were left in penury and eventually she sold his medal, only for it to be eventually acquired by the Regiment. This allowed her to meet the Queen in the 1960s and take with her all of her husband’s medals.
She died two years later.