Sgt. Norman Finch, V.C.

Sergeant Norman Finch, Royal Marine Artillery, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his action during the Zeebrugge Raid of 23 April, 1918. The citation in The London Gazette for 23 July 1918 reads:

Sergeant Norman Augustus Finch, R.M.A., No. R.M.A./12150.
For most conspicuous gallantry. Sergeant Finch was second in command of the pompoms and Lewis guns in the foretop of Vindictive, under Lieutenant Charles N. B. Rigby, R.M.A. At one period the Vindictive was being hit every few seconds, chiefly in the upper works, from which splinters caused many casualties. It was difficult to locate the guns which were doing the most damage, but Lieutenant Rigby, Sergeant Finch and the Marines in the foretop, kept up a continuous fire with pompoms and Lewis guns, changing rapidly from one target to another, and thus keeping the enemy’s fire down to some considerable extent. Unfortunately two heavy shells made direct hits on the foretop, which was completely exposed to enemy concentration of fire. All in the top were killed or disabled except Sergeant Finch, who was, however, severely wounded; nevertheless he showed consummate bravery, remaining in his battered and exposed position. He once more got a Lewis gun into action, and kept up a continuous fire, harassing the enemy on the mole, until the foretop received another direct hit, the remainder of the armament being then completely put out of action. Before the top was destroyed Sergeant Finch had done invaluable work, and by his bravery undoubtedly saved many lives. This very gallant sergeant of the Royal Marine Artillery was selected by the 4th Battalion of Royal Marines, who were mostly Royal Marine Light Infantry, to receive the Victoria Cross under Rule 13 of the Royal Warrant dated 29th January, 1856.

Finch retired from the Royal Marines as a Quartermaster Sergeant in 1929. During the Second World War, he rejoined at age 49 and served as a Storekeeper Officer (Lieutenant) until 1945.His Victoria Cross is on display at the Royal Marines Museum, Eastney Barracks, Southsea.

Sergeant Norman Finch, VC with the Lewis gun he fired from Vindictive’s foretop.

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