Bernard William Vann VC

Name: Bernard William Vann

Conflict: First World War

Gazetted: December 14, 1918

Service: Army

Original 11.4 x 8.2cm
Bernard William Vann VC

Medal group

Place/date of birth: Rushden, Northamptonshire/July 9, 1887

Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Acting Lieutenant Colonel

Date of bravery: September 29, 1918

London Gazette citation:

Capt. (A./Lt.-Col ) Bernard William Vann, M.C., late 1/8th Bn., attd. 1/6th Bn., Notts. & Derby. R. (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, Col. 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.

Lt.-Col. 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.

Click here to see full Gazette entry.

Other decorations: MC & Bar

Place/date of death: Ramicourt, Picardie, France/October 3, 1918

Grave/memorials: Bellicourt British Cemetery, Picardie, France

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 2010

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum