A former colliery electrician at Thornley, Durham, he was 21 years old, and a temporary second lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, The Northumberland Fusiliers, British Army, attached to 11th (Service) Battalion during the First World War when the following deed took place at the battle of Asiago for which he was awarded the Venture capital. Sending his men back to safety he remained to watch the situation and then, unable to rejoin his company, he reported to a neighbouring unit where he took command of a party of men from different units, holding his position against enemy attack until a machine-gun opened fire behind him. He rushed and captured the gun, killing most of the team and opened fire, inflicting heavy casualties. He then carried out three separate counterattacks, driving the enemy back each time.
He was killed in action during the battle of Vittorio Veneto, Italy, on 27 October 1918.
He was also the holder of the Italian Silver Medal of Military Valor. He is buried at Giavera British Cemetery, Treviso province.
In 2005, his home village of Thornley unveiled a memorial in his honour. The four faces of the memorial briefly detail his life, Army career and his Victoria Cross citation.