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Private Jacob Rivers VC

6016 Pte Rivers J. was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in WW1 at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle on the 12th of march, 1915.  A native of Derby, he served as a Private with the 1st Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) and was awarded the V.C. for;

“… most conspicuous bravery at Neuve-Chapelle on 12th of March 1915, when he, on his own initiative, crept to within a few yards of a very large number of the enemy who were massed on the flank of an advanced company of his battalion and hurled bombs on them.  His action caused the ememy to retire and so relieved the situation.  Pte Rivers performed a second act of great bravery on the same day, similar to the first mentioned again causing the enemy to retire.  He was killed on this occasion” 

Jacob Rivers was born in Derby in 1882 and grew up to become a rivetter.  He was 5ft 11 inches tall with brown hair and eyes and he weighed 152 lbs.   He had a tattoo, on his upper arm, of a cross bearing the words ‘I Love MB’.  Prior to joining the Sherwood Foresters he had completed an engagement in the Royal Scots Fusiliers.  The name of Jacob’s father was shown on his military records as George Rivers and his mother was shown as Adeline Rivers living at Court 12, House 4, Bridge Gate, Derby.  He had 3 brothers, Isaac, Joseph and George, as well as 4 sisters, Lucy, Lizzie, Emma and Adelaide.  This detailed information about living, first blood relatives was supplied to the Infantry Records Office, No 6 District, Lichfield by his mother after His Majesty the King requested it,so it could be included on the plaque and scroll in commemoration of her sons actions.   

His medical history shows that in the January prior to his death he had spent time in a military hospital suffering from frostbite to both feet and was discharged from hospital back to duty on 29th January 1915 which was 7 weeks before his death.     

His remains were lost and never recovered.  Jacob’s Victoria Cross was presented to his mother by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 29th November 1916.  So proud were the people of Derbyshire at the award of the Victoria Cross to Jacob that on the 23rd of March 1923 they made his mother a Freeman, an honour she shared with Earl Haig and the Duke of Devonshire.  His name is on the Le Touret Memorial, Neuve-Chapelle, France and he shares a dedication on his mother’s headstone in Nottingham Road Cemetery.  It reads, ‘in memory of Adeline Rivers who died March 1st 1937.’  The rest of her stone is dedicated to her son.

11 Comments on “Private Jacob Rivers VC

  1. We as decendants are so proud of our great uncle Jacob. His VC and tabacco tin which had a bullet whole in from his first advance, was kept by our uncle Issac Rivers until his recent death.
    The family have now given these to the Sherwood Foresters museum. . .

    • Thank you Simon, he was a very brave man and it gave us great pleasure to include him in our archives. Best wishes to you and your family from all at the CHG Archives Team.

    • Hi,
      I wonder if my Grandmother Alice Goodall [nee Rivers]is amongst the known family of Jacob. I am advised that she was his half sister. The story of his heroics has been with me for much of my 69 years of age but have recently a topic of family conversation with my sister visiting from the States. My elder sister is very familiar with the history of Alice and maybe we have some additional information .

      I hope you can reply.
      Best regards
      Mike

    • Yes a brave man. My mother who is 87 today is Jacob’s sister Emma’s youngest daughter ( Theresa O’donell ). Emma married twice and had ? twelve children in all with one of my mothers half-brothers ? George also serving with the Sherwood Foresters. My mother has three children and 11 grand children so Jacob on our side of the family alone has many people who remember his bravery all those years ago.

  2. My grandmother was Emma rivers she married my grandfather Samuel Hudson in 1907 , Samuel never survived the war dieing in France in October the month before armestice .
    After his death she married Dominic odonnell and had the rest of her children she died in 1957,Jacob was always my fathers hero and it made me very proud to be involved in the centenary remembrance last March.
    John Richard Hudson.

  3. Could a member of Jacob Rivers family please contact me at the Railway Heritage Trust. We are installing plaques in memory of all the railwaymen who won the VC, and would like to place one in honour of Jacob at Derby Station.

    • Hi this is John hudson, after hearing about the article in the telegraph yesterday I left a phone message as yet no one as replied.

      • John,

        I’ve been doing some work on the case for Andy and I’m sure he’ll be in touch – some strands of the family stretch far and wide!

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