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  • Christina Drummond

Second Lieutenant John Spencer Dunville VC, 1st (Royal) Dragoons

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1917, Second Lieutenant John Spencer Dunville VC, 1st (Royal) Dragoons, died from injuries sustained the previous day during action at Epehy in France.

The son of Colonel John Dunville (chairman of Dunville & Co whisky distillers), he was educated at Ludgrove School and Eton College, and was a member of the Officers' Training Corps for two years from 1912 to 1914. He was to have gone to Trinity College, Cambridge, but because of the outbreak of the Great War he chose to join the army instead. (Image by courtesy of Christopher Dunville.)

Second Lieutenant Dunville was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on the 25th of June in 1917 – his citation reads: “For most conspicuous bravery. When in charge of a party consisting of scouts and Royal Engineers engaged in the demolition of the enemy's wire, this officer displayed great gallantry and disregard of all personal danger. In order to ensure the absolute success of the work entrusted to him, 2nd Lt. Dunville placed himself between an N.C.O. of the Royal Engineers and the enemy's fire, and, thus protected, this N.C.O. was enabled to complete a work of great importance. 2nd Lt. Dunville, although severely wounded, continued to direct his men in the wire-cutting and general operations until the raid was successfully completed, thereby setting a magnificent example of courage, determination and devotion to duty, to all ranks under his command. This gallant officer has since succumbed to his wounds.” He is buried in the Villiers-Faucon Communal Cemetery, Somme, France.

John, from Marylebone, was 21 years old.

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