10 Heroes of World War One | History Hit

10 Heroes of World War One

Alex Browne

21 Feb 2023

Here are 10 stories of heroic action during World War One. Irrespective of the side they fought for these people displayed remarkable courage. 

Although the tragedy of the war is often conveyed through the massive scale of the slaughter, sometimes this is better expressed through individual tales.

1. Australian Private Billy Sing sniped at least 150 Turkish soldiers at Gallipoli


His nickname was ‘Murderer’.

2. US Sergeant Alvin York was one of the most decorated American soldiers

In the Meuse Argonne Offensive (1918) he led an attack on a machine gun nest which killed 28 enemy and captured 132. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor.

3. During a patrol over Italy in March 1918, Lt Alan Jerrard’s Sopwith Camel was hit 163 times – he won the VC

4. The youngest recipient of the Victoria Cross, Boy (First Class) John Cornwell, was 16 years old


He stayed at his post for over an hour despite receiving a fatal wound.

5. 634 Victoria Crosses were awarded during World War One

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166 of those were awarded posthumously.

6. The Red Baron of Germany was the war’s greatest flying ace


Baron Manfred von Richthofen was credited with 80 kills.

7. Edith Cavell was a British nurse who helped 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium


The Germans arrested her and she was executed by a German firing squad. Her death helped turn global opinion against Germany.

8. Anibal Milhais, the most decorated Portuguese soldier of the war, successfully and single-handedly withstood two German assaults


His resistance and rate of fire during a German ambush convinced the enemy that they were up against a fortified unit rather than a lone soldier.

9. Renegade Pilot Frank Luke, the ‘balloon buster’, claimed 18 victories in total


On September 29 1918 he downed 3 balloons but was fatally injured in the process.

10. Ernst Udet was Germany’s second greatest flying Ace, claiming 61 victories


Udet would enjoy a playboy lifestyle after the war. However he re-enlisted in World War Two and committed suicide in 1941 during Operation Barbarossa.

Alex Browne