Captain Anketell Moutray Read was born in Beaumont House, 56 Shurdington Road, Leckhampton on the 27th October,1884. He rejoined the Northampton Regiment and was shipped to France in 1914. He was killed on the opening day of the battle of Loos, 25th September, 1915, and was subsequently awarded a posthumous VC.
Anketell’s father was Col. John Moutray-Read, attached to the Cheshire Regiment. He was educated at Glyngarth School, Cheltenham, and at the United Services College, Westward Ho!
He graduated from Sandhurst in 1903 as a 2nd Lt in the Gloucester Regiment and served with them in India for 3 years. He joined the Indian Army in1907, (7th Hariana Lancers) and served with them until 1911, then returned to the UK.
He joined the Northampton Regiment, then was attached to the Royal Flying Corps obtaining his flying licence at Brooklands on 22nd October, 1912.
He rejoined the Northampton Regiment and was shipped to France on 12th /13th August, 1914, serving at Mauberge and Mons. Was severely wounded during action on the Aisne while attached to the 9th Lancers, in September, 1914. Rejoined Northampton Regiment in March, 1915 and saw action at Ypres.
He was killed on the opening day of the battle of Loos, 25th September, 1915, and was subsequently awarded a posthumous VC. The Battalion War Diary reads as follows:-
“Capt. Read had very gallantly gone out to rally a party of about 60 men of different units who were retiring disorganised owing to gas drifting back. The men were lead forward again by him and took up a position south of Lone Tree where they maintained themselves for some hours. Capt. Read was mortally wounded during this time.”
He was well known as an army athlete, winning the heavyweight services boxing championship in India eight times and middleweight twice, winning both at the same meeting. He also won the Army and Navy heavyweight championship three times at Aldershot and Plymouth. One judge remarked
“Read wins because he never accepts defeat and never knows when he is beaten.”
The citation for his VC award read
“For most conspicuous bravery during the first attack near Hulluch on the morning of 25th September, 1915.”
Although partially gassed, Captain Read went out several times in order to rally parties of different units which were disorganised and retiring.
He led them back into the firing line, and, utterly regardless of danger, moved freely about encouraging them under a withering fire. He was mortally wounded while carrying out this gallant work.
Captain Read had previously shown conspicuous bravery during digging operations on 29th, 30th and 31st August, 1915, and on the night of the 29th-30th July he carried out of action an officer, who was mortally wounded, under a hot fire from rifles and grenades.
He is buried at Dud Corner Military Cemetery, France.