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Green plaque accolade for workhouse orphan who became a war hero

Robert Gee VC

A war hero who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in the First World War and who later went on to become an MP is to be honoured with a Green Plaque by Leicestershire County Council.

Captain Robert Gee was born in Leicester in 1876 and was orphaned just before his ninth birthday.

He was sent to Leicester Workhouse, before being admitted to the Countesthorpe Cottage Homes for orphaned children, where he lived until 1890.

He enlisted in the Army in 1893, joining the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers.

He was commissioned in 1915 and served in Gallipoli, where he was promoted to acting captain.

The following year, he was seriously wounded on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme and was awarded the Military Cross for displaying outstanding leadership.

Then in November 1917, Captain Gee single-handedly attacked a German machine gun post at Masnieres and Les Rues Vertes in France.

He captured the gun, killing eight of the Germans manning the post and was wounded.

It was this action for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross and was decorated by King George V at Buckingham Palace in February 1918.

After the war, Captain Gee began his political career, becoming Member of Parliament for East Woolwich in 1921, when he defeated the future Labour Prime Minister, Ramsay McDonald.

He lost his seat in 1922 and after two unsuccessful campaigns in Newcastle and Bishop Auckland, returned to Parliament in 1924 as MP for Bosworth.

He emigrated to Australia in 1926, where he died in 1960 aged 84.

The Green Plaque is being unveiled on Thursday 30 September on the Bosworth Conservative Association building in Hinckley.

Captain Robert Gee was a true war hero, who was awarded the highest military honour – the Victoria Cross. He then went on to serve his country in another field – that of politics.

He was a remarkable man – going from workhouse and orphanage to a life of incredible heroism and service and I am delighted to be able to unveil this Green Plaque in his honour.

Find out more information about the Green Plaque scheme 

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