The North of Ireland had its share of the Victoria Crosses awarded
during the war, as the following record shows:-
34419 Sergt. David Nelson, L. Battery, Royal Horse Artillery
For helping to bring the guns into action
under heavy fire at Nery, on 1st September, 1914, and while severely
wounded remaining with them until all the ammunition was expended,
although he had been ordered to retire to cover. Sergt. Nelson was
a son of the late Mr. Geo. Nelson, Stranooden, Monaghan. He went
to France as an N.C.O., and died of wounds there in April, 1918, when he
was a Major.
1053 Private Robert Morrow, 1st Batt. Royal Irish Fusiliers
For most conspicuous bravery neat Messines,
on 12th April, 1915, when he rescued and carried successively to places
of comparative safety several men who had been buried in the debris of
trenches wrecked by shell fire. Private Morrow was the son
of Mrs. Morrow, Newmills, Dungannon, and was killed in action a few
months after winning the Cross.
1539 Colour-Sergeant Frederick William Hall, 8th Canadian
On 24th April, 1915, in the neighbourhood
of Ypres, when a wounded man, who was lying some 15 yards from the
trench, called for help, Company Sergeant-Major Hall endeavoured to
reach him in the face of a very heavy enfilade fire which was being
poured in by the enemy. Company Sergeant-Major Hall then made a
second most gallant attempt, and was in the act of lifting up the
wounded man to bring him in when he fell mortally wounded in the
head. This warrant officer belonged to Belfast, where his
relatives still reside. He served in the Royal Inniskilling
Fusiliers before emigrating to Canada
10512 Sergeant James Somers, 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling
Fusiliers (29th Division).
For most conspicuous bravery on the night
of July 1-2, 1915, in the southern zone of the Gallipoli Peninsula,
when, owing to hostile bombing, some of our troops had retired from a
sap, Sergeant Somers remained alone on the spot until a party brought up
bombs. He then climbed over into the Turkish trench and bombed the
Turks with great effect. Later on he advanced into the open under heavy
fire, and held back the enemy by throwing bombs into their flank until a
barricade had been established. During this period he frequently
ran to and from our trenches to obtain fresh supplies of bombs. By
his gallantry and coolness Sergeant Somers was largely instrumental in
effecting the recapture of a portion of our trench which had been
lost. Sergeant Somers was a native of Belturbet, Co. Cavan.
He was gassed in France in 1917, and died at his parent's home, in
Cloughjordan, on 7th May, 1918.
Captain John A. Sinton, Indian Medical Service.
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion
to duty at Orah Ruins, Mesopotamia, on the 21st January, 1916.
Although shot through both arms and through the side he refused to go to
hospital, and remained as long as daylight lasted, attending to his
duties under very heavy fire. In three previous actions Captain
Sinton displayed the utmost bravery. Capt. (now Lt. Col.) Sinton
is a Lisburn man, and a graduate of Queen's University, Belfast.
He is a son of Mrs. Sinton, Ulster Villas, Lisburn Road, Belfast.
Commander the Hon. Edward Barry Stewart Bingham, R.N.
For the extremely gallant way in which he
held his division in their attack, first on enemy destroyers and then on
their battle-cruisers, in the Jutland Battle. He finally sighted
the enemy battle-fleet, and, followed by the one remaining destroyer of
his division ("Nicator"), with dauntless courage he closed to
within 3,000 yards of the enemy in order to obtain a favourable position
for firing the torpedoes. While making this attack,
"Nestor" and Nicator" were under concentrated fire of the
secondary batteries of the High Sea Fleet. "Nestor" was
subsequently sunk. Commander Bingham is the third son of the fifth
Baron Clanmorris, late of Bangor Castle, County Down. He was taken
prisoner in the Jutland Battle.
Lieutenant Geoffrey St. George Shillington Cather, 9th Royal Irish
Fusiliers (Ulster Division)
For most conspicuous bravery near Hamel,
France, on 1st July, 1916. From 7p.m. till midnight he searched
"No Man's Land," and brought in three wounded men. Next
morning, at 8a.m., he continued his search, brought in another wounded
man, and gave water to others, arranging for their rescue later.
Finally, at 10-30 a.m., he took out water to another man, and was
proceeding further on when he was himself killed. All this was
carried out in full view of the enemy, and under direct machine gun fire
and intermittent artillery fire. He set a splendid example of
courage and self-sacrifice. Lieut. Cather was a son of the late
Mr. R. G. Cather and Mrs. Cather, and grandson of the late Mr. Thos.
Shillington, J.P., Tavanagh House, Portadown and Rev. Robert
Cather, Belfast. He was 25 years of age.
14/18278 Private William Frederick McFadzean, 14th Batt. Royal
Irish Rifles (Ulster Division)
For most conspicuous bravery near Thiepval
Wood, on 1st July, 1916. While is a concentration trench, and
opening a box of bombs for distribution prior to an attack, the box
slipped down into the trench, which was crowded with men, and two of the
safety pins fell out. Private McFadzean, instantly realising the
danger to his comrades, with heroic courage threw himself on the top of
the bombs. The bombs exploded, blowing him to pieces, but only one
other man was injured. He well knew his danger, being himself a
bomber, but without a moment's hesitation he gave his life for his
comrades. Private McFadzean was a son of Mr. William McFadzean, Rubicon,
Cregagh, Belfast, and was born in Lurgan, in 1895. He was on the
staff of Messrs. Spence, Bryson & Co., Belfast, before joining the
12/18645 Private Robert Quigg, 12th Batt. Royal Irish Rifles
For most conspicuous bravery, Hamel,
France, on 1st July, 1916. He advanced to the assault with his
platoon three times. Early next morning, hearing a rumour that his
platoon officer was lying out wounded, he went out seven times to look
for him under heavy shell and machine gun fire, each time bringing back
a wounded man. The last man he dragged in on a waterproof sheet
from within a few yards of the enemy's wire. He was seven hours
engaged in this most gallant work, and finally was so exhausted that he
had to give it up. Private Quigg (now a sergeant) is a son of Mr.
Robert Quigg, Carnkirk, Bushmills, a guide at the Giant's
Causeway. He was born in 1885, and enlisted from the U.V.F. at
Ballymoney. The officer whom he tried to save was the late Sir
Harry Macnaghten, Bart., of Dundarave, Bushmills.
Captain Eric Norman Frankland Bell, 9th Batt. Royal Inniskilling
Fusiliers (Ulster Division)
For most conspicuous bravery at Thiepval,
on 1st July, 1916. He was in command of a trench mortar battery,
and advanced with the infantry to the attack. When our front line
was hung up by enfilading machine gun fire, Captain Bell crept forward
and shot the machine gunner. Later on, no less than three
occasions, when our bombing parties, which were clearing the enemies'
trenches, were unable to advance, he went forward alone and threw trench
mortar bombs among the enemy. When he had no more bombs available
he stood on the parapet, under intense fire, and used a rifle with great
coolness and effect on the enemy advancing to counter-attack.
Finally he was killed rallying and reorganising infantry parties which
had lost their officers. All this was outside the scope of his
normal duties with his battery. He gave his life in his supreme
devotion to duty. Capt. Bell was a son of the late Capt. E. H.
Bell, who was Quartermaster at the Inniskillings' Depot in Omagh.
His mother is an Enniskillen lady, residing at Bootle.
3/5027 Private Thomas Hughes, 6th Batt. Connaught Rangers
For most conspicuous bravery and
determination at Guillemont, France, on the 3rd Sept., 1916. He
was wounded in an attack, but returned at once to the firing line after
having his wounds dressed. Later, seeing a hostile machine-gun, he
dashed out in front of his company, shot the gunner, and, single-handed,
captured the gun. Though again wounded he brought back three or
four prisoners. Private Hughes is a Castleblayney man, and was
employed at the Curragh before enlisting.
Second-Lieut. John Spencer Dunville, 1st Royal Dragoons
For most conspicuous bravery near Epehy,
France, on 24th and 25th June, 1917. When in charge of a party
consisting of scouts and Royal Engineers engaged in the demolition of
the enemy's wire, this officer displayed great gallantry and disregard
of all personal danger. In order to ensure the absolute success of
the work entrusted to him, 2nd Lieut. Dunville placed himself between an
N.C.O. of the Royal Engineers and the enemy's fire, and, thus protected,
this N.C.O. was enabled to complete a work of great importance.
2nd Lieut. Dunville, although severely wounded, continued to direct his
men in the wire cutting and general operations until the raid was
successfully completed, thereby setting a magnificent example of
courage, determination, and devotion to duty, to all ranks under his
command. The gallant officer has since succumbed to his
wounds. Second-Lieutenant Dunville was a son of Mr. John Dunville,
Redburn, Holywood. He was 21 years of age when he was killed.
|Second-Lieutenant Jas. Samuel Emerson,
9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (Ulster Division)
For repeated acts of most conspicuous
bravery N. of La Vacquerie on 6th December, 1917. He led the
company in an attack and cleared 400 yards of trench, though wounded,
when the enemy attacked in superior numbers, he sprang out of the trench
with eight men and met the attack in the open, killing many and taking
six prisoners. For three hours after this, all other officers
having been casualties, he remained with his company, refusing to go to
the dressing station and repeatedly repelled bombing attacks.
Later, when the enemy again attacked in superior numbers, he led his men
to repel the attack, and was mortally wounded. His heroism, when
worn out and exhausted from loss of blood, inspired his men to hold out,
though almost surrounded, till reinforcements arrived and dislodged the
enemy. Second-Lieut. Emerson, who was 22 years of age, was a son
of the late Mr. John Emerson, of Collon, and brother of Mr. W. Emerson,
Armagh. He was for a time in the 9th Royal Irish Rifles (West
Belfast Volunteers) before receiving a commission.
681886 Sergt. Cyril Edward Gourley, M.M., Royal Field Artillery
For most conspicuous bravery when in
command of a section of howitzers, at Little Priel Farm, east of Epehy,
France, on 30th November, 1917. Though the enemy advanced in
force, getting within 400 yards in front, between 300 to 400 yards to
one flank, and with snipers in rear, Sergt. Gourley managed to keep one
gun in action practically throughout the day. Though frequently driven
off he always returned, carrying ammunition, laying and firing the gun
himself, taking first one and then another of the detachment to assist
him. When the enemy advanced he pulled his gun out of the pit and
engaged a machine-gun at 500 yards, knocking it out with a direct
hit. All day he held the enemy in check, firing with open sights
on enemy parties in full view at 300 to 800 yards, and thereby saved his
guns, which were withdrawn at night-fall. He had previously been
awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry. Sergt.
Gourley is a son of Mr. J. Gourley, late of Galbally, Dromore, Co.
Tyrone, and now of Liverpool.
75361 Company Sgt.-Major Robert Hanna, Canadian Infantry
For most conspicuous bravery at Lens,
France, on 21st September, 1917, when his company met with most severe
enemy resistance and all the company officers became casualties. A
strong point, heavily protected by wire and held by a machine gun, had
beaten off three assaults of the company with heavy casualties.
This warrant officer, under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, cooly
collected a party of men, and, leading them against the strong point,
rushed through the wire and personally bayoneted three of the enemy and
brained the fourth, capturing the position and silencing the
machine-gun. This most courageous action displayed courage and
personal bravery of the highest order at this most critical moment of
the attack, was responsible for the capture of a most important tactical
point, and but for his daring action and determined handling of a
desperate situation the attack would not have succeeded. Company
Sergt.-Major Hanna's outstanding gallantry, personal courage, and
determined leading of his company is deserving of the highest possible
reward. This gallant warrant officer (now a lieutenant) is a son
of Mr. Robert Hill Hanna, farmer, of Aughnahoory, Kilkeel, Co.
Down. He was born in that place, and emigrated to Canada in 1902.
6/17978 Private James Duffy, 6th Battalion Royal Inniskilling
Fusiliers (10th Division)
For most conspicuous bravery at Lerlina
Peak, Palestine, on 27th December, 1917, displayed whilst his company
was holding a very exposed position. Private Duffy (a
stretcher-bearer) and another stretcher-bearer went out to bring in a
seriously wounded comrade; when the other stretcher-bearer was wounded
he returned to get another man; when again going forward the relief
stretcher-bearer was killed. Private Duffy then went forward
alone, and, under heavy fire, succeeded in getting both wounded men
under cover and attended to their injuries. His gallantry
undoubtedly saved both men's lives, and he showed throughout an utter
disregard of danger under very heavy fire. Private Duffy is a son
of the late Mr. Peter Duffy, Bonagee, Letterkenny, County Donegal, and
is 26 years of age.
Second-Lieutenant Edmund De Wind, 15th Battalion Royal Irish
Rifles (Ulster Division)
For most conspicuous bravery and
self-sacrifice on 21st March, 1918, at the Racecourse Redoubt, near
Groagie. For seven hours he held this important post, and though
twice wounded and practically single-handed he maintained his position
until another section could be got to his help. On two occasions,
with two N.C.O.'s only, he got out on top under heavy machine-gun and
rifle fire and cleared the enemy out of the trench, killing many.
He continued to repel attack after attack until he was mortally wounded
and collapsed. His valour, self-sacrifice, and example were of the
highest order. Second-Lieut, De Wind was youngest son of the late
Mr. A. H. De Wind, C.E., Belfast, and of Mrs. de Wind, who now resides
at Kinvara, Comber. He was born in 1883, and was a bank clerk in
Cavan before going to Canada, whence he returned to enlist.
Lieut.-Colonel Richard Annesley West, D.S.O., M.C., North Irish
Horse, attached Tank Corps.
For most conspicuous bravery, leadership,
and self-sacrifice at Courcelles and Vaulx, Vraacourt, France, on 21st
August, 1918, and 2nd September, 1918. During an attack the
infantry having lost their bearings, in the dense fog, this officer at
once collected and reorganised any men he could find, and led them to
their objective in face of a heavy machine-gun fire. Throughout
the whole action he displayed the most utter disregard of danger, and
the capture of the objective was in a great part due to his initiative
and gallantry. On a subsequent occasion it was intended that a
battalion of light tanks under the command of this officer should exploit
the initial infantry and heavy tank attack. He therefore went
forward in order to keep in touch with the progress of the battle, and
arrived at the front line when the enemy were in process of delivering a
local counter-attack. The infantry battalion had suffered heavy
officer casualties, and its flanks were exposed. Realising that
there was a danger of the battalion giving way, he at once rode out in
front of them under extremely heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, and
rallied the men. In spite of the fact that the enemy were close
upon him he took charge of the situation and detailed non-commissioned
officers to replace officer casualties. He then rode up and down
in front of them in face of certain death, encouraging the men and
calling to them, "Stick it, men; show them fight; and for God's
sake put up a good fight." He fell riddled by machine-gun
bullets. The magnificent bravery of this very gallant officer at
the critical moment inspired the infantry to redoubled efforts, and the
hostile attack was defeated. Lieut.-Colonel West was the youngest
son of Mr. Augustus George West, of White Park, County Fermanagh, and
had a most gallant career in the war. He was 39 years of age.
V.C.'s were awarded to Ulster units, the recipients not being
Capt. Gerald Robert O'Sullivan, 1st Batt. Royal Inniskilling
Fusiliers (since killed in action) - S.W. of Krithia, Gallipoli, on
the night of 1st-2nd July, 1915. (29th Division)
Lieut.-Col. J. Sherwood-Kelly, C.M.G., D.S.O., Norfolk Regiment,
Commanding 1st Batt. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. at Marcoing,
France, on 20th November, 1917 (29th Division)
Second-Lieut. C. L. Knox, 150th Field Co., Royal Engineers (Ulster
Division), at Tugny, France, on 22nd March, 1918
42364 Lance-Corpl. Ernest Seaman, 2nd Batt. Royal Inniskilling
Fusiliers (since killed in action) - At. Terbond, France, on 29th
September, 1918 (Ulster Division)
42954 Private Norman Harvey, 1st Batt. Royal Inniskilling
Fusiliers (Ulster Division - At. Ingoyten, on 25th October, 1918
V.C.'s were won by officers and men of Ulster parentage, but who
themselves were not natives of the province. Amongst these were -
the late Lieut. James Anson Otho Brooke, 2nd Batt. Gordon
Highlanders (Aberdeen), who was one of the Brookes of
Brookborough. He gained the Cross at Gheluvelt, on 29th October,
1914, and lost his life on the same day.
11213 Sergt. R. Downie, 2nd Batt. Royal Dublin Fusiliers who was
awarded the cross for his bravery in attack on gun-posts last year, Les
Boeufs, France, on 25th October, 1916, was the son of Laurencetown (Co.
Down) parents and was born in Glasgow, where the family have lived for
nearly forty years.
The late Flight Sub-Lieut. R. A. J. Warneford, who destroyed the
first Zeppelin, on 7th June, 1915, was a grandson of the late Mr.
Alexander Campbell, C.I.E., D.S.O., Ballyalton, Co. Down