b. 07/10/1879 Thatcham, Berkshire. d. 28/02/1912 Dover, Kent.
William John House (1879-1912) was born on 7th October 1879 in Thatcham, near Newbury, Berkshire, the son of Thomas House. He entered the Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) on 3rd November 1896, and within three years, he was sailing to South Africa with his regiment on the outbreak of the Second Boer War.
Private House would be gazetted for the Victoria Cross on his 23rd birthday in 1902, for his actions at Mosilikatse Nek on 2nd August 1900.
During the attack on Mosilikatse Nek, on 2nd August, 1900, when a Sergeant, who had gone forward to reconnoitre, was wounded, Private House rushed out from cover (though cautioned not to do so, as the fire from the enemy was very hot), picked up the wounded Sergeant, and endeavoured to bring him into shelter, in doing which Private House was himself severely wounded. He, however, warned his comrades not to come to his assistance, the fire being so severe.
House was invested for the Victoria Cross by King Edward VII in London on 24th October 1902, and remained in the Royal Berkshire Regiment after the end of the Second Boer War, having recuperated from his wounds. House’s life was tragically cut short however, when on 28th February 1912, at the age of 32, he was cleaning his rifle at Shaft Barracks, Dover. What is believed to have happened next is that the gun went off, killing him instantly. The incident was believed to have been suicide. He was buried in St James’ Cemetery, Dover. A new headstone was placed on his grave by his regiment in 1994. His medals are held by The Rifles Museum, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: GLOUCS/BERKS/WILTS REGIMENT MUSEUM, SALISBURY.
BURIAL PLACE: ST JAMES CEMETERY, DOVER, KENT. SECTION N, GRAVE 1-16.
William House's medals at the Royal Berks/Gloucs/Wilts Regiment Museum, Salisbury (Thomas Stewart).
Two memorials in Thatcham, Berkshire
Memorial Stone to House alongside two other VC's in Thatcham in September 2015 (Steve Lee)