Among the heroes of the WW1 whose names and feats did not fade in history, but are remembered and commemorated a century later, is Lieutenant Gabriel Georges Coury – a recipient of Victoria Cross,  the highest military decoration, awarded for gallantry “in the face of the enemy” to members of the British armed forces. .

The future of this young gentleman, who was born in 1896 in Liverpool, seemed somewhat determined. He was born in a family of a wealthy Armenian-Lebanese father and a French mother, who had 6 children. He was well-educated, had served in Stonyhurst College’s Officer Training Corps and had just embarked on a promising career in a firm of cotton brokers based in his hometown. But the destiny decreed otherwise. When the war broke out, Gabriel became a volunteer in Lord Kitchener’s New Army. At this young age, he was 18 at the time, he became an officer because of his impressive educational background and experience.

Gabriel Coury’s military career is a manifestation of his courage, commitment, and determination. His participation in one of the episodes of the WW1 in 1916 led to the recognition of his wholehearted bravery and loyalty “in the face of the enemy” in the form of a Victoria Cross award.

He received the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry for his deeds during the British attack on a village of Guillemont, which was held by German forces. Gabriel Coury displayed reckless contempt for death and inspired the soldiers serving under him to sacrifice their lives if necessary to complete the task that his battalion was given – digging a communication trench under intense fire. While this was a difficult task in itself, Lieutenant Coury also managed to rescue his Commanding Officer who was wounded on the battlefield. He carried him all the way back to the trench under a hail of bullets released by the enemy’s machine guns. After displaying such a heroic behavior, he also organised the defense against a counter-attack by German forces, which he did with a “wonderful skill”, thus deserving all the credit for the success of this operation.

He worked in the cotton industry after the war, but joined the army’s anti-aircraft unit again during WW2. After the army he opened a fish and chip shop, and died in 1956, aged 59.

Fortunately, the story of Gabriel Coury is well documented, the Victoria Cross is held in the Lancashire Infantry Museum, and a memorial stone is set up in Liverpool to mark his gallantry 100 years after his deeds took place to remind people about this fearless soldier and skillful officer.


Sources: 

http://www.lancashireinfantrymuseum.org.uk | http://www.nwrfca.org.uk/city-liverpool-somme-commemoration | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Coury

The article was researched and written by a project contributor Mariam Torosyan, a student of International Relations in London. 

 

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