The most decorated enlisted man in the first world war


William Coltman.jpg

The photo shows William Harold Coltman during World War One.

Fred Logie , a founder member of Middlesbrough Erimus Rotary Club, gave members a presentation on this remarkable world war one soldier.

William Harold Coltman, VC, DCM & Bar, MM & Bar (17 November 1891 – 29 June 1974) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that could be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was the most decorated other rank soldier of the First World War.

He was only 5′ 3″ tall and a conscientious objector but volunteered as a stretcher bearer. He won all his medals for rescuing wounded men during and after battles on the Western Front. He was a very unassuming man who, on the day of his return home, the local Mayor had organised a special reception but William got off the train 5 miles down the line and walked home not wanting to be given such recognition. The next day he went to the Town Hall and asked for his old job back as a gardener in the parks department. He died in 1974 and was then 82 years old.