Military & Spies

Frank Alexander de Pass - Jewish Lieutenant, British Army

World War I hero, first Jewish recipient of the Victoria Cross

Born: April 26, 1887 - London, England
Died: November 25, 1914 - Festubert, France

Lieutenant Frank Alexander de Pass
Lieutenant Frank Alexander de Pass
Frank Alexander de Pass was born to a family of Spanish/Portuguese Jews, who originally came to England in the 1660s, in the Kensington section of London. He was commissioned into the Royal Horse Artillery in 1906. In 1909 he was transferred into the 34th Prince Albert Victors Own Poona Horse. In 1914, on the outbreak of World War I, he was sent with his regiment to France.

De Pass was awarded the Victoria Cross on February 18, 1915 "For conspicuous bravery near Festubert, on 24 November 1914, in entering a German sap and destroying a traverse in the face of the enemy's bombs; and for subsequently rescuing, under heavy fire, a wounded man who was lying exposed in the open. Lieutenant de Pass lost his life in a second attempt to capture the sap, which had been re-occupied by the enemy."

Lieutenant De Pass became the first Jewish recipient of the Victoria Cross, which is the highest military decoration awarded for bravery in battle to members of the armed forces of Britain and its Commonwealth countries.

Interesting Facts
  • Lieutenant de Pass was the first Indian Army officer to win the VC in World War I.
Further Reading
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