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Recipients of the Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour 'in the face of the enemy'. It takes precedence over all other orders, decorations and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and civilians under military command, and is presented to the recipient by the British monarch during an investiture held at Buckingham Palace.

Private Norman Harvey 1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers - 25 October 1918

Private Norman HarveyOn 25 October 1918 at Ingoyghem, Belgium, when the battalion was held up and suffering heavy casualties from the enemy machine-guns, Private Harvey on his own initiative rushed forward and engaged the enemy single-handed, disposing of 20 of them and capturing the guns.

Later when his company was checked by another enemy strong point he again rushed forward and put the enemy to flight. Subsequently, after dark he voluntarily carried out a single-handed and important reconnaissance and gained valuable information.

Lance Corporal Ernest Seaman 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers - 29 September 1918

Lance Corporal Ernest SeamanOn 29 September 1918 at Terhand, Belgium, when the right flank of his company was held up by enemy machine-guns, Lance-Corporal Seaman went forward under heavy fire with his Lewis gun and engaged the position single-handed, capturing two machine-guns and 12 prisoners, and killing one officer and two men.

Later in the day he again rushed another enemy machine-gun post, capturing the gun under very heavy fire. He was killed immediately afterwards, but it was due to his gallant conduct that his company was able to push forward to its objective.

Second Lieutenant Edmund De Wind 15th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles - 21 March 1918

Second Lieutenant Edmund De WindIt was during the First Battle of the Somme on 21 March 1918, at the Racecourse Redoubt, near Groagie, France, that for seven hours, Second Lieutenant De Wind held this important post and though twice wounded and practically single-handed, he maintained his position until another section could be sent to his help.

On two occasions, with two NCOs only, he got out on top under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire and cleared the enemy out of the trench, killing many of them. He continued to repel attack after attack until he was mortally wounded and collapsed

Private James Duffy 6th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers 27 December 1917

*On 27 December 1917 at Kereina Peak, Palestine, whilst the 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, Private Duffy returned to get another man, who was killed almost immediately.

Private Duffy then went forward alone and, under very heavy fire, succeeded in getting both

Second Lieutenant James Samuel Emerson 9th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers - 6 December 1917

Second Lieutenant James Samuel EmersonOn 6 December 1917, on the Hindenberg Line north of La Vacquerie, France, Second Lieutenant Emerson led his company in an attack and cleared 400 yards of trench.

Though wounded, when the enemy attacked in superior numbers he met their attack with eight men, killing many and taking six prisoners. For three hours afterwards, all other officers having become casualties, he remained with his company, refusing to go to the dressing station, and repeatedly repelling bombing attacks.

Later, leading his men to repel another attack, he was mortally wounded. His heroism inspired his men to hold out until reinforcements arrived.

Lieutenant Colonel John Sherwood-Kelly 1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers - 20 November 1917

Lieutenant Colonel John Sherwood-KellyHe was 37 years old, and an Acting Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 20 November 1917 at Marcoing, France, when a party of men were held upon the near side of a canal by heavy rifle fire, Lieutenant Colonel Sherwood-Kelly at once ordered covering fire, personally led his leading company across the canal and then reconnoitred, under heavy fire, the high ground held by the enemy.

He took a Lewis gun team, forced his way through obstacles and covered the advance of his battalion, enabling them to capture the position. Later he led a charge against some pits from which heavy fire was coming, capturing five machine-guns and 46 prisoners.

Lieutenant Geoffrey St George Shillington Cather 14th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles - 1 July 1916

Lieutenant Geoffrey St George Shillington CatherOn 1 July 1916 near Hamel, France, from 7pm till midnight, Lieutenant Cather searched 'No Man's Land' and brought in three wounded men. Next morning, at 8am, he continued his search, brought in another wounded man and gave water to others, arranging for their rescue later.

Finally, at 10.30am, 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.

Rifleman Robert Quigg 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles - 1 July 1916

Rifleman Robert QuiggOn 1 July 1916, Prior to the major offensive, their unit had been placed in the French village of Hamel, located on the north bank of the River Ancre. On July 1, the Mid-Antrim Volunteers were ordered to advanced through the defenses towards the heavily defended German lines. During the advance, they encountered fierce resistance from heavy machine-gun and shell fire. Quigg's Platoon made three advances during the day, only to be beaten back on each occasion by German fire. The final evening assault left many hundreds of the 12th Battalion lying dead and wounded in 'No Man's Land'.

In the early hours of the next morning, it was reported that Lieutenant Harry Macnaughten, the Platoon commander was missing; Robert Quigg volunteered to go out into 'No Man's Land' to try and locate him. He went out seven times to search for the missing officer, without success. On each occasion, he came under machine-gun fire, but he managed to return with a wounded colleague.

It was reported that, on one of his forays, he crawled within yards of the German position in order to rescue a wounded soldier, whom he dragged back on a waterproof groundsheet. After seven hours of trying, exhaustion got the better of him; Robert had to rest from his efforts.

The body of Lieutenant Harry Macnaghten was never recovered

Private William Fredrick McFadzean 14th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles - 1 July 1916

Private William Fredrick McFadzeanOn 1 July 1916, near Thiepval Wood, France, in a concentration trench, a box of grenades being opened for distribution prior to an attack slipped down into the trench, which was crowded with men, and two of the safety pins fell out. Private McFadzean, instantly realizing the danger to his comrades, with heroic courage threw himself on the top of the bombs, which exploded, blowing him to pieces, but only one other man was injured. He well knew the danger, being himself a bomber, but without a moment's hesitation he gave his life for his comrades.

William's father, (also called William) was presented with his son's VC by King George V at a ceremony held in Buckingham Palace, London on February 28, 1917, having been granted a third-class return ticket from Cregagh, Belfast

Captain Eric Norman Frankland Bell 9th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers - 1 July 1915

Captain Eric Norman Frankland BellOn 1 July 1916, at Thiepval, France, when our front line was checked 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 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.

Sergeant James Somers 1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers - 1 July 1915

Sergeant James SomersOn 1/2 July 1915, in Gallipoli, Turkey, when, owing to hostile bombing, some of our troops had retired from a sap, Sergeant Somers remained alone there 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.

In a letter to his father, Somers wrote:

'I beat the Turks out of our trench single-handed and had four awful hours at night. The Turks swarmed in from all roads, but I gave them a rough time of it, still holding the trench. It is certain sure we are beating the Turks all right. In the trench I came out of, it was shocking to see the dead. They lay, about three thousand Turks, in front of our trenches, and the smell was absolutely chronic. You know when the sun has been shining on those bodies for three or four days it makes a horrible smell; a person would not mind if it was possible to bury them. But no, you dare not put your nose outside the trench, and if you did, you would be a dead man.'

He had been severely wounded during the Retreat from Mons in August 1914.

He died on 7 May 1918 (aged 33), and was buried with full military honours in Modreeny Church of Ireland cemetery. His Union Jack-draped coffin was carried on a gun carriage, led by the Pipe Band of the Cameron Highlanders. His headstone states simply.

He stood and defended. The Lord wrought a great wonder.

Captain Gerald Robert O'Sullivan 1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers -1-2 July 1915

Captain Gerald Robert O'SullivanOn 1 July/2 July 1915 south-west of Krithia, Gallipoli, Turkey, Captain O'Sullivan volunteered to lead a party of bomb throwers to recapture a vital trench. He advanced in the open under very heavy fire and in order to throw his bombs with greater effect, got up on the parapet, completely exposed to the enemy occupying the position. He was finally wounded, but his example led his men to make further efforts which resulted in the recapture of the trench.

Previously, on 18 June/19 June he had saved a critical situation by his gallantry and leadership.

He was killed in action, Suvla, Gallipoli, Turkey, on 21 August 1915.

Private Robert Morrow 1st Battalion, Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers) - 12 April 1915

Private Robert MorrowOn 12 April 1915 near Messines, Belgium, Private Morrow rescued and carried to places of comparative safety several men who had been buried in the debris of trenches wrecked by shell fire. He carried out this work on his own initiative and under heavy fire from the enemy.

He was killed in action, St. Jan, Ypres Salient, Belgium, on 26 April 1915 and is buried in White House Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery.

Private James Byrne 86th (Royal County Down) Regiment - 3 April 1958

*On 3 April 1858 at Jhansi, India, Private Pearson was wounded in an attack on a number of Indian rebels; he killed one of them, and bayoneting two others. He also took another wounded private to Calpee under heavy fire, but the private died soon after of his wounds.

Pearson went on to achieve the rank of Sergeant.

Lieutenant Henry Edward Jerome 86th (Royal County Down) Regiment - 3 April 1858

*On 3 April 1858 at Jhansi, India, Jerome, with the assistance of private James Byrne, removed under very heavy fire a lieutenant of the regiment who was severely wounded, at an exposed point of the attack upon the Fort. He also displayed gallantry at the capture of the Fort of Chandairee, the storming of Jhansi, and in action with a superior rebel force at Jumna on 28 May, when he was severely wounded.

Jerome later achieved the rank of major general. He is buried in Lansdown Cemetery, Bath

Lieutenant Hugh Stewart Cochrane 86th (Royal County Down) Regiment - 1 April 1858

Lieutenant Hugh Stewart CochraneOn 1 April 1858 near Jhansi, India, when No. 1 company of the regiment was ordered to take a gun, Lieutenant Cochrane dashed forward at a gallop under heavy musketry and artillery fire, drove the enemy from the gun and kept possession of it until the company came up.

He also showed conspicuous gallantry in attacking the rear guard of the enemy when he had three horses in succession shot under him. For these actions he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
He is buried at Highland Road Cemetary, Portsmouth