18 May 2011

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of A / Lieutenant Colonel Bernard Vann
1 / 8th Bn, Sherwood Foresters

  • Victoria Cross
  • Military Cross ( MC ) & Bar
  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
  • Croix de Guerre ( France )

The Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Bernard Vann, 1 / 8th Bn, The Sherwood Foresters ( Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment ) have been acquired by the Michael Ashcroft Trust the holding institution for Lord Ashcroft's VC Collection. The Victoria Cross medal group is currently on display in the Imperial War Museum's Lord Ashcroft Gallery. ( Bernard Vann's WWI Trio are missing from the group ).

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 14 December 1918 ], Canal du Nord, France, 29 September 1918, Captain ( Acting Lieutenant Colonel ) Bernard William Vann, 1 / 8th Bn, The Sherwood Foresters ( Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment ), Commanding 1 / 6th Bn, Sherwood Foresters ( T.F.)

For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty and fine leadership during the attack at Bellenglise and Lehaucourt on September 29th 1918.

He led his battalion with great skill across the Canal du Nord through a very thick fog and under heavy fire from field and machine guns. On reaching the high ground above Bellenglise the whole attack was held up by fire of all descriptions from the front and right flank. Realising that everything depended on the advance going forward with the barrage, Colonel Vann rushed up to the firing line and with the greatest gallantry led the line forward. By his prompt action and absolute contempt for danger the whole situation was changed, the men were encouraged and the line swept forward. Later, he rushed a field-gun single-handed and knocked out three of the detachment.

The success of the day was in no small degree due to the splendid gallantry and fine leadership displayed by this officer. Lieutenant Colonel Vann, who had on all occasions set the highest example of valour, was killed near Ramicourt on 3rd October 1918, when leading his battalion in attack.

Having been ordained in 1911, Bernard Vann tried to enter the army as a chaplain but he was unwilling to wait for a position to become available so he enlisted in the 28th London Regiment in 1914 as an infantryman. He was commissioned into the 1 / 8th Bn, Sherwood Foresters on the 1st September 1914.

[ London Gazette, 15 September 1915 ], For the award of the Military Cross, Second Lieutenant Bernard William Vann, Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment.

At Kemmel on 24 April 1915 when a small advance trench which he occupied was blown in, and he himself wounded and half buried, he showed the greatest determination in organising the defence and rescuing buried men under heavy fire, although wounded and severely bruised he refused to leave his post until directly ordered to do so.

At Ypres on 31 July 1915, and subsequent days, he ably assisted another officer to hold the left trench of the line, setting a fine example to those around him.

On various occasions he has led patrols up to the enemy's trenches and obtained valuable information.

[ London Gazette, 14 November 1916 ], For the award of a Bar to the Military Cross, Lieutenant ( Temporary Captain ) Bernard William Vann, MC, Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment

For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led a daring raid against the enemy's trenches, himself taking five prisoners and displaying great courage and determination. He has on many previous occasions done fine work.

Bernard Vann was killed by a sniper on 3 October 1918 at Rammicourt, and is buried in the Bellicourt British Cemetery, 12 miles East of Peronne.


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Iain Stewart, 18 May 2011