George Ravenhill VC (February 21, 1872 – April 14, 1921) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Ravenhill is one of eight men whose VCs were involuntarily forfeited.
Born in Aston
in May 1889 Ravenhill joined the 1st battalion of his regiment at Birr, Ireland
. He served near six years in India then two years with the 2nd Battalion in South Africa. He gained the Queen's and the King's medals, with clasps, for relief of Ladysmith
and Cape Colony
Ravenhill was 27 years old, and a private in the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers, British Army during the South African War (Boer War) when the following deed took place for which we was awarded the VC.
On 15 December 1899
, South Africa
, Private Ravenhill went several times under heavy fire from his sheltered position as one of the escort to the guns, to assist the officers and drivers who were trying to withdraw a number of guns when the detachments serving them had all been killed, wounded or driven from them by infantry fire at close range. Private Ravenhill also helped to limber up one of the guns which was saved. He was once wounded at Colenso, shot through the forearm.
Ravenhill's VC was forfeited after he was imprisoned for theft of a quantity of iron and could not afford to pay the 10 shilling fine. His VC-entitled pension was also withdrawn. Ravenhill died in poverty at the age of 49, and three of his children were taken away to be fostered in the USA and Canada. Ravenhill is buried in an unmarked grave at Witton Cemetery
In July 1920, at the behest of King George V
, the practice for administering the Victoria Cross
award was amended to exclude VC forfeiture
Ravenhill's Victoria Cross is currently displayed at the Museum of The Royal Highland Fusiliers
in Glasgow, Scotland