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Victoria Cross Awards

Eric Norman Frankland Bell VC (28 August 1895 - 1 July 1916) was born Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Ireland and was by birth an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He was 20 years old, and a Temporary Captain in the 9th Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, British Army, attached to Light Trench Mortar Bty. during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 1 July 1916, at Thiepval, France, when the allied 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 British 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.

James Samuel Emerson VC (August 3, 1895-December 6, 1917) born in the village of Collon, County Louth was awarded the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He was 22 years old, and a temporary second lieutenant in the 9th Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (Tyrone Volunteers), British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 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.

Ernest Seaman VC MM (16 August 1893-29 September 1918) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He was 25 years old, and a Lance-Corporal in the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 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.
A copy of his medal is held in the Officers Mess at The Royal Logistic Corps Museum (Camberly, Surrey, England). The original is kept in a bank vault.
Ernie was born in a small village near Norwich, then while he was still a young boy he and his family moved to Scole. On leaving school he worked for a while as a page boy in the Grand Hotel in Felixstowe. He had a few other jobs before signing up to go and fight for his country.
Ernie is commemorated at Tyne Cot Cemetery,(Panel No. 70), the memorial to the 36th Division at the Ulster Tower near Thiepval on the Somme, Felixstowe War Memorial in Suffolk, and the Scole War Memorial in Norfolk.

Norman Harvey VC (6 April 1899 - February 1942) was an Ulster recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He re-enlisted in World War II and was killed in action.
He was 19 years old, and a Private in the 1st Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 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.
Harvey enlisted into the Royal Engineers in 1939 and joined 199 Railway Workshop Company. He was promoted to Company Quartermaster-Sergeant in April 1941. He was killed in action, near Haifa, Palestine on 16th Feb 1942.
Harvey's grave in Khayat Beach cemetery, Haifa, Israel.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Regimental Museum of The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (Enniskillen, Northern Ireland).

Edmund De Wind, VC (11 December 1883-21 March 1918) born Comber, County Down, Ireland was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was 34 years old, and a Second Lieutenant in the 15th Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
It 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.
Named on Poziers Monument. Mount De Wind, Alberta, Canada named after this VC recipient. A housing estate in his home town of Comber is also named in his honour. A plaque memorial was erected in his old school, Campbell College, Belfast. Edmund was officially remembered in Comber on Friday 14th September 2007 through the unveiling of a Ulster History Circle "Blue Plaque" in his honour. The first memorial to de Wind is a pillar his mother caused to be carved at the main entrance on the west front of St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast. The pillar bears his name and the date of his death. The west front was dedicated to the men from Northern Ireland who died in the Great War. It was dedicated in 1927.

William Frederick McFadzean VC (born October 9, 1895 - died July 1, 1916) was born in Lurgan, County Armagh a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He was 20 years old, and a private in the 14th Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC. (It should be noted that in the vernacular of the time a "bomb" was a grenade, and a "bomber" was a grenadier).
On 1 July 1916, near Thiepval Wood, France, in a concentration trench, a box of bombs 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.

Robert Quigg VC (February 28, 1885 - 14 May 1955) was a recipient of the Victoria Cross for his bravery in the Battle of the Somme in the First World War.
Robert Quigg was born on February 28, 1885 in the townland of Ardihannon. Ardihannon is located in the Parish of Billy, near the Giants Causeway, County Antrim. His father, Robert Quigg senior, worked as a boatman and tour guide at the Giants Causeway. Young Quigg attended the Giants Causeway National School. Like most young teenage boys from the rural areas of the time, he left school and sought work on local farms. He worked for a number of years on Forsyth’s farm at Turfnahun and also on the Macnaghten Estate at Dunderave. Robert was a prominent member of the local Orange Lodge Aird LOL 1195 ; he played in the flute band. He was also a member of the Royal Black Institution and the William Johnston Memorial RBP 559.

Ulster Volunteer Force

In 1912, because of calls for home rule, the Ulster crisis deepened. The Protestants perceived Ulster's constitutional position as a threat. The constitutional position was a response to the growth of Irish Nationalism and the activities of British Liberal Party. It led to the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force. At that time, the Ulster Volunteer Force was a legal force which had been empowered to carry out drilling and military preparations, with the proviso that it uphold the constitution. It had nine divisions, based on county. The divisions, in turn, were divided into battalions, companies and platoons. Robert Quigg joined the Ulster Volunteer Force in January, 1913, shortly after its formation. He became commander of the Bushmills Volunteers. At that time, the UVF membership numbered over 100,000, with an estimated 40,000 bearing arms. As the European crisis, and war between Britain and Germany, became imminent, a halt was called to the Ulster Volunteer Force's preparations in Ulster. Sir Edward Carson, in turn, offered the services of the Ulster Volunteer Force to the British government against Germany. The Ulster Volunteer members, who volunteered to join the British Army, formed the bulk of the 36th (Ulster) Division. Thousands of its members volunteered for active service. One such volunteer was Robert Quigg. In September, 1914, he enlisted in the 12th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles (Mid-Antrim Volunteers). His service number was 12/18645. He held the rank of Rifleman. His Platoon Officer was Harry Macnaghten, the heir to the Macnaghten Estate. Sometime earlier, Robert had worked on Dunderave Estate; he had first become familiar with Harry Macnaghten while employed there.

Battle of the Somme and Victoria Cross Award

Robert Quigg was awarded the Victoria Cross for his "Most Conspicuous Bravery" at the Battle of the Somme, July 1, 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.
On January 8, 1917, Robert received his Victoria Cross from King George V, at York Cottage, Sandringham. Queen Mary was also in attendance. Upon his return to Bushmills, the people of the town and district turned out in force to welcome him home, including the Macnaghten household. Lady Macnaghten presented him with a gold watch in recognition of his bravery in attempting to find and rescue her son, Lieutenant Harry Macnaghten. Robert reached the rank of Sergeant before retiring from the army in 1926 (after he was badly injured in an accident). Later, in 1953, two years before he died, he met the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II. Robert Quigg died on May 14, 1955 at Ballycastle, County Antrim. He was buried in Billy Parish Churchyard, with full military honours.
The Russians also presented Robert Quigg with the Medal of Order of St. George (Fourth Class), the highest award of the Russian Empire. The First and Second classes were only given on the personal decree of the Emperor. The Third and Fourth classes were only awarded by the approval of the Georgevsky Council, a group of St George Knights. The Third Class was for senior officers, and the Fourth Class was the highest award of the Russian Empire for non-senior officers. His Victoria Cross and Order of St. George (fourth class) are on display at the Royal Irish Rifles Museum in Belfast.
Lieutenant Geoffrey St. George Shillington Cather VC (born October 11, 1890 - died July 2, 1916) was born in the Streatham Hill area of south-west London. He was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He was 25 years old, and a lieutenant in the 9th Battalion, The Royal Irish Fusiliers, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 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.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Regimental Museum The Royal Irish Fusiliers, (Armagh, Northern Ireland).

Robert Morrow VC (7 September 1891 - 26 April 1915) was born in Newmills, Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland and was an Ulster recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He was 23 years old, and a Private in the 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Fusiliers, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 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.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Regimental Museum The Royal Irish Fusiliers (Armagh, Northern Ireland).


 

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