ISAAC John Edmund Valentine
Regiment : 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade
Service number : J0
Conflict : WW1
Date of death : 9th May 1915
Place of death : Rouge Bancs, Fromelles Ridge, Armentieres, Fran
Buried : New Irish Farm Cemetery, Belgium, Grave XXXI. F. 13.
Birthplace : 14th February 1880 at Powick Court, Worcestershire
Memorial : Worcester Cathedral Cloister Windows
Also appears on : Worcester St John in Bedwardine Church. Worcestershire County Cricket Club WW1 and WW2 Memorial. Worcestershire County Cricket Club WW1 Memorial. Kempsey St Mary's Church. Worcester Guildhall.
Awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
First team member for Orange Free State 1906/07 and Worcestershire County Cricket Club from 1907-1908.
Third son of the late John Swinton Isaac of Boughton Park and his wife, Amy Alice, daughter of Major-General R.H. Crofton, R.A. Educated at Wixenford and Harrow, he was gazetted to the 2nd Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers from the Militia in April 1900 and in June of that year joined his regiment on active service in South Africa. He was gazetted Lieutenant on 28th November 1900 before being seriously wounded at Nooitgedacht in December. For his services during the Boer War he received the Queen’s medal with four clasps. After two years recovering from his wounds he returned to duty. He was appointed Captain on 1st April 1905, when his battalion was disbanded in 1908 he was gazetted to the Rifle Brigade and served with them in Malta and Egypt. He was a member of the I. Zingari, Free Forresters, and M.C.C., and played cricket for his regiment and occasionally for his county. He rode in various races, winning the Cairo Grand National in 1911, on a horse trained and partly owned by himself. He resigned his commission in 1911, and went to Vancouver, British Columbia where he engaged in real estate and participated in hunting and shooting on the Yukon as well as playing polo in California.
On hearing rumours of war Captain Isaac returned to England in August 1914 and rejoined his regiment. In October 1914 he went to the front as A.D.C. and Camp Commandant to Major-General Sir T. Capper, commanding 7th Division. He was wounded in the left arm at the 1st Battle of Ypres and received the Distinguished Service Order for “conspicuous gallantry” on that occasion, besides being twice mentioned in despatches. He returned to the Front on 19th December 1914, but in the Spring, after his General was wounded, he resigned his appointment on the Staff and joined the 2nd Battalion of his Regiment in May 1915. He was killed in action on the Aubers-Fromelles Ridge, on 9th May 1915 whilst leading his men in an attack on a German trench which was ultimately successful.
General Sir T. Capper, K.C.M.G., commanding 7th Division wrote:
“Johnnie is more to me than an A.D.C., a very dear friend and companion . . . he is a gallant soldier too. Sir H. Rawlinson writes to me that he was last seen leading his men to the second assault with great dash – a noble and gallant spirit.”
The late Brigadier-General Walter Long wrote:
“His courage was phenomenal, as his return to his Regiment affords ample proof. Everyone who came in contact with him felt the better for his presence – he really had a most wonderful personality . . . His bravery was really remarkable, and it was a bye-word in his Division; he performed some wonderful deeds out here.”