b. 19/02/1895 Cradock, South Africa. d. 16/02/1950 Harare, Zimbabwe.
William Frederick Faulds (1895-1950) was born on 19th February 1895 at 34 Market Street, Cradock, Eastern Cape, South Africa. He was known as “Mannie”. His father, Alexander, was a carpenter originating from Scotland. His mother was Wilhelmina Ernestina nee Neseman, who was a native of Cradock. His parents had married on 2nd February 1881 at the Wesleyan Chapel Church in Cradock. Mannie had six siblings, and was the second youngest.
He educated locally in Cradock and worked at the Midland Motor Garage there. He enlisted with the Cradock Commando on 19th October 1914 and served in South West Africa until discharged on 12th January 1915. He then enlisted in 1st South African Infantry at Potchefstroom on 23rd August 1915 and served in Egypt. He went to France with his Battalion on 16th April 1916.
On 18th July 1916 at Delville Wood, France, a bombing party under Lieut Craig attempted to rush over 40 yards (36 m) of ground which lay between the British and enemy trenches. Coming under very heavy rifle and machine gun fire the officer and the majority of the party were killed and wounded. Unable to move, Lieut Craig lay midway between the two lines of trench, the ground being quite open. In full daylight, Pte Faulds, accompanied by two other men, climbed over the parapet, ran out, picked up the officer, and carried him back... Two days later Private Faulds again showed most conspicuous bravery in going out alone to bring in a wounded man, and carried him nearly half a mile to a dressing-station... The artillery fire was at the time so intense that stretcher-bearers and others considered that any attempt to bring in the wounded man meant certain death...
He was the first South African born soldier serving with South African forces to be awarded the VC. He was promoted to Lance Corporal on 20th August and Corporal and Lance Sergeant on 18th October. The VC was presented by King George V at York Cottage, Sandringham, Norfolk on 8th January 1917. He was then promoted to Sergeant and was commissioned in May 1917. He went to Egypt, where he served in the Transport Department until returning to France.
In a retirement from Hendicourt on 22nd March 1918, he commanded a platoon forming the rearguard. He handled the men with skill and checked the enemy advance, allowing his men to withdraw with minimal casualties. His actions saw him awarded the Military Cross. He was wounded and taken prisoner two days later. He was demobilised as Lieutenant Faulds on 10th April 1919 having returned to South Africa.
He then worked as a mechanic with De Beers until 1922. On 22nd March 1921 he had married Thelma Methuen Windell in Kimberley. They had two children – Selwyn Herbert born in 1924 and Veronica Jay born in 1928.
He served for five years during World War Two, enlisting as a Private in the Mechanical Service Corps and served in Abyssinia and Egypt. He was commissioned later and was a Lieutenant in East Africa in 1941. After the war he became a Rhodesian Government Industrial Inspector in 1945 in Salisbury (now Harare). He died at Salisbury General Hospital, Rhodesia on 16th August 1950 and was buried in an unmarked grave at Salisbury Pioneer Cemetery. A headstone was placed in 1972. In addition to the VC and MC, he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19, 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45, Africa Service Medal 1939-45 and George VI Coronation Medal 1937. His VC was held by the National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg, but was reported stolen in 1994 and not been recovered.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: MISSING STOLEN FROM MILITARY MUSEUM, JOHANNESBURG.
BURIAL PLACE: PIONEER CEMETERY, HARARE, ZIMBABWE.
National Memorial Arboretum
An artist's impression of his VC action
Freemasons Memorial, London (Brian Drummond)