John Cunningham VC

Name: John Cunningham

Conflict: First World War

Gazetted: June 8, 1917

Service: Army

John Cunningham VC

Medal group

Place/date of birth: Thurles, Co Tipperary, Ireland/October 22, 1890

Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Corporal

Date of bravery: April 12, 1917

London Gazette citation:

No. 8916 Cpl. John Cunningham, late Lein. R.

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in command of a Lewis Gun Section on the most exposed flank of the attack.

His section came under heavy enfilade fire and suffered severely. Although wounded, he succeeded almost alone in reaching his objective with his gun, which he got into action in spite of much opposition. When counter-attacked by a party of twenty of the enemy, he exhausted his ammunition against them, then, standing in full view, he commenced throwing bombs. He was wounded again, and fell, but picked himself up and continued to fight single-handed with the enemy until his bombs were exhausted. He then made his way back to our lines with a fractured arm and other wounds.

There is little doubt that the superb courage of this N.C.O. cleared up a most critical situation on the left flank of the attack. Cpl. Cunningham died in hospital from the effects of his wounds.

Click here to see full Gazette entry.

Other decorations: N/A

Place/date of death: Near Barlin, France/April16, 1917

Grave/memorials: Headstone, Barlin Communal Cemetery, near Noeux-les-Mines, France; memorial, St Mary’s Church, Thurles, Co Tipperary, Ireland

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 2022

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