10 November 2010

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Captain Gerald O'Sullivan,
1st Bn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

  • Victoria Cross
  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )

The Victoria Cross awarded to Captain Gerald O'Sullivan, 1st Bn, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, has been acquired by the Michael Ashcroft Trust, the holding institution for Lord Ashcroft's VC Collection. The VC is not accompanied by O'Sullivan's First World War Trio of campaign medals.

Gerald O'Sullivan earned his Victoria Cross over two periods, on 18th - 19th June, and 1st - 2nd July 1915, when the Turks launched a fierce assault on a recently captured extension of the British line at the eastern edge of Gully Ravine.

For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 1 September 1915 ], Helles, Gallipoli, Turkey, 1 - 2 July 1915, Captain Gerald Robert O'Sullivan, 1st Bn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

For most conspicuous bravery during operations south-west of Krithia, on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

On the night of the 1st - 2nd July 1915, when it was essential that a portion of a trench which had been lost should be regained, Captain O’Sullivan, although not belonging to the troops at this point, volunteered to lead a party of bomb throwers to effect the recapture.

He advanced in the open under a very heavy fire, and, in order to throw his bombs with greater effect, got up on the parapet where he was completely exposed to the fire of the enemy occupying the trench. He was finally wounded, but not before his inspiring example had led on his party to make further efforts, which resulted in the recapture of the trench.

On the night of 18th - 19th June 1915, Captain O’Sullivan saved a critical situation in the same locality by his great personal gallantry and good leading.

On the 21st August 1915 O'Sullivan led his company through a hurricane of fire onto the crest of Hill 70, only to be forced back by enfilading artillery fire. Some 400 yards beneath the hilltop he gathered together the survivors in a gully and urged them to make 'one more charge for the honour of the Old Regiment'.

According to the Inniskillings' history, 'every man who could responded, and a little band of fifty rushed against the crest. Of that band only one, a wounded sergeant, came back'. Gerald O'Sullivan's body was never found and his name is engraved on the Helles Memorial.


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Iain Stewart, 10 November 2010