Born in Dartmouth to a builder and a professional concert pianist, ‘Thommy’ Veale was the first in the town to volunteer for the army on the outbreak of war. At the age of 22 he found himself in the battlefields of the Somme.
“On the 20th July 1916, at High Wood, France. Hearing that a wounded officer was lying out in front. Private Veale went out in search, and found him lying amidst growing corn within fifty yards of the enemy positions. He dragged the officer to a shell-hole, returned for water and took it out to him. Finding he could not single-handedly carry in the officer, her returned for assistance, and took out two volunteers. One of the party was killed when carrying the officer and enemy fire necessitated leaving the officer in a shell hole. At dusk, Private Veale went out again with volunteers to bring in the officer. Whilst doing this an enemy patrol was observed approaching. Pte Veale at once went back and procured a Lewis Gun, and with the fire of the gun, he covered the party and the officer was finally carried to safety. The courage and determination displayed was of the highest order.”
- London Gazette, 9th December 1916
He was awarded the Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 5th February 1917. He died at the age of 89 in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. His VC is on display in the museum.
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