Charlton, Edward “Ed” Colguhoun, born on 15-06-1920 in Rowlands Gill, County Durham, was a guardsman in the 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards, British Army during World War II. On 21-04-1945 Guardsman Charlton was a co-driver of one tank of a troop that was supporting an infantry platoon. They captured the village of Wistedt, Germany which the German army attempted to re take. The numerically superior German forces consisted largely of officer cadets under the command of experienced instructor officers, supported by two or three self-propelled guns. Charlton had been ordered to dismount the turret machine gun and support the infantry. The Irish Guards were in danger of being over-run by the Germans. During the Second World War, the regiment lost over 700 men killed, 1.500 wounded and was awarded 252 medals, including two VCs.
Death and burial ground of Charlton, Edward “Ed” Colguhoun.
Charlton, on his own authority, took the machine gun and advanced in full view of the attacking Germans, firing the weapon from his hip as he did so and inflicting heavy German casualties. The lead German company was halted and this allowed the rest of the Guards a respite in which to reorganize and retire. He continued his bold attack, even when he was wounded in his left arm. Charlton placed the machine-gun on a fence where he launched a further attack before his left arm was hit again by further enemy fire becoming shattered and useless. Charlton, now with just one usable arm, carried on his attack until a further wound and loss of blood resulted in the Guardsman collapsing. His courageous and selfless disregard for his own safety allowed the rest of the Irish Guards troop and infantry to escape. He later died of the wounds, on 1-04-945. He was awarded the posthumous Victoria Cross , it was the last VC of the European theatre and the last, so far, awarded to a member of the Irish Guards. Ed Charlton, age 24, is buried on the war cemetery of Soltau.