|THE VICTORIA CROSS AWARDED TO CORPORAL JOHN CUNNINGHAM, 2ND BN, LEINSTER REGIMENT, HAS BEEN LOANED TO THE IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM.|
( select to enlarge )
|Medal entitlement of Corporal John Cunningham,
2nd Bn, Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment
|The Imperial War Museum in London has acquired on loan the Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Corporal John Cunningham, 2nd Bn, Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment.
On the 12th April 1917 the Prince of Wales' Leinster Regiment were to make an assault, their objective being the Bois-en-Hache to the north-east of Souchez and the strongpoint known as Pimple, on the northern edge of Vimy Ridge. At 5.00 a.m. the attack began and three companies moved off in two waves accompanied by a British barrage. Landmarks were quickly concealed by the snow and the ground, comprising mainly of shell holes and craters, quickly became slushy.
The Leinsters continued their advance in these very poor conditions and the enemy opened a heavy rifle and machine-gun fire on them. After beating the Germans back from their first line, the leading men moved downhill towards the wooded slope and the German second line. Meanwhile, hostile enfilade fire from across the Souchez Valley continued and took its toll. Cunningham was later awarded the Victoria Cross for his work on this day.
[ London Gazette, 8 June 1917 ], Bois-en-Hache, France, 12 April 1917, Corporal John Cunningham, 2nd Bn, Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment.
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in command of a Lewis Gun Section on the most exposed flank of the attack ( Bois-en-Hache, France ).
John Cunningham died of his wounds in hospital four days later on the 16th April 1917 and is buried in Barlin Communal Cemetery near Noeux-les-Mines, France.
Iain Stewart, 1 November 2007