WING Vincent Sladen

Known information

Vincent Sladen Wing was the only son of John and Evelyn Wing. His father was born in Market Overton and his parents kept a house there but Vincent was born at their home in London on 4 May 1898. He was educated at Hildersham House in Broadstairs and at Rugby, and won an exhibition at Clare College, Cambridge, which he was unable to take up because of the war. On turning 18, he attested under the Derby scheme on 11 May 1916, and the same day became a cadet in the University of London Officer Training Corps. He was promoted to Lance Corporal in June 1916, and subsequently to Corporal, Sergeant, and Company Sergeant Major. On 21 November 1916, he was posted to "B" Reserve Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, at St. John's Wood, and in February 1917 was sent for his firing course to Larkhill, Salisbury Plain. He was gazetted to Second Lieutenant Royal Field Artillery on 27 March 1917 serving with 65th Howitzer Battery, 28th Brigade. George Phillips, in Rutland and the Great War, wrote: "On 10 May 1917 he was ordered to France, and then subsequently attached to the Portuguese Expeditionary Force. On 10 August 1917 Colonel Hippolyto, the commander of the Portuguese artillery, and his staff were inspecting the gun positions at Croix Barbie. The Germans found the range and shelled it. The first shell set fire to a barn, which was the men's billet, killing and wounding several men. Lieutenant Wing, who was off duty and ill in bed at the time, did not stop to dress, but ran into the barn where he helped to save the wounded, showing great bravery and a total disregard for personal danger under heavy shell fire. The Portuguese staff with the officers and men of the battery then moved to a detached section and when Lieutenant Wing joined them he was called up and congratulated by Colonel Hippolyto, who insisted upon his wearing his (the Colonel's) cloak. Lieutenant Wing then helped to dress the wounded when a shell fell in the gun pit 30 yards away and a splinter mortally wounded him. He only managed to say 'They've got me, Sir,' and never regained consciousness. He and five of the men killed in the same shelling were buried at La Gorgue Communal Cemetery, Estaires, grave III.A.10. By Colonel Hippolyto's special request Lieutenant Wing was buried in the cloak. The Portuguese flag, with the Union Jack, was placed over him, and when Colonel, then General Hippolyto, came to London at the time of the visit of the Portuguese Mission he personally presented the flag to Lieutenant Wing's parents." A Staff Major wrote: "I want to tell you how tremendously highly we all thought of him. I don't know when I met a better officer or a more promising young subaltern, and I know that was what they all thought of him in the Division." His Major wrote that he had "endeared himself by his manner and excellent work not only to all the officers whom he had met out here, but also to the men of his section in the battery, with whom he was in close sympathy." His Captain wrote that "he showed great bravery in rescuing wounded men from a very tight corner and total disregard for personal danger." Vincent's original grave marker now hangs in Market Overton church where there is a plaque to his memory. He is also on the war memorial on the church gates. His cousin, Major General F V Wing, had been killed in action in October 1915 when commanding 12th Division and is buried in a cemetery 26 kilometres from Vincent.

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  • Vincent Sladen WING
  • Market Overton church
  • Market Overton Memorial
  • Market Overton Memorial 2
  • Vincent Wing's plaque
  • V S Wing cross
  • Market Overton church
  • La Gorgue Communal Cemetery 1
  • V S Wing 2
  • V S Wing 1

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