William Charles Fuller
|William Charles Fuller|
|Born||13 March 1884
Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, Wales
|Died||29 December 1974 (aged 90)
Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales
|Buried at||Oystermouth Cemetery, West Glamorgan|
|Battles/wars||Second Boer War
First World War
Second World War
Royal Humane Society Medal for Life-Saving
William Charles Fuller VC (13 March 1884 – 29 December 1974) was a Welsh 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. Fuller was the first Welsh recipient of the Victoria Cross in the First World War.
Fuller was the son of William and Mary Fuller of Laugharne, Carmarthen. He was born in Laugharne, West Wales, and died at the age of 90 in December 1974. Educated in Swansea, he joined the Army in 1902 during the Second Boer War. He was recalled as a reservist in 1914.
Victoria Cross action
On 14 September 1914 near Chivy-sur-Aisne, France, Lance-Corporal Fuller advanced under very heavy enemy rifle and machine-gun fire to extract an officer who was mortally wounded, and carried him back to cover. Fuller won his Victoria Cross for saving Captain Mark Haggard, nephew of Rider Haggard, who had fallen wounded. He carried him a distance estimated at 100 yards to a ridge where he managed to dress the officer's wounds. Captain Haggard asked Lance Corporal Fuller to fetch his rifle from where he had fallen. He did not want the enemy to get it, Fuller managed to do.
With the help of two others, Private Snooks and Lieutenant Melvin, Officer in charge of the machine-gun section of the Welsh Regiment, they managed to get Haggard to the safety of a barn that was being used as a first-aid dressing station.
Lance-Corporal Fuller remained with Captain Haggard trying to help him until the officer died later on that evening. His last words to Fuller were "Stick it, Welsh." Afterwards, he died. Lance-Corporal Fuller attended to two other officers who had also been brought to the barn wounded (Lieutenant The Honorable Fitzroy Somerset and Lieutenant Richards). The barn came under heavy fire, and the wounded men and officers were evacuated. Afterwards, the barn was razed to the ground via German shell-fire.
On 29 October, Fuller was wounded while dressing the wounds of Private Tagg; shrapnel entered his right side, twelve inches in up to his shoulder blade and came to rest on his right lung. Fuller was sent to Swansea Hospital were they operated, removing the shrapnel. Fuller was given a home posting after his recovery, as a successful recruiting sergeant in Wales.
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
- VCs of the First World War - 1914 (Gerald Gliddon, 1994)
- Location of grave and VC medal (West Glamorgan, Wales)