A commemorative stone is to be laid in Neston to honour a VC recipient from the town in the Great War.
Lt Col Christopher Bushell received the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy for his ‘most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty’ when in command of his battalion, part of the 7th Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, in northern France on March 23, 2018.
He was killed by an enemy sniper on the Somme on August 8, 1918 and is buried at the Querrieu British cemetery in France.
The ceremony will take place at Saturday, March 24 at 2pm at The Cross in Neston town centre.
It follows a similar event in Burton where a stone was laid to honour the memory of Major William La Touche Congreve VC, brigade major of the 76th Infantry Brigade, who fell in the Somme on July 20, 1916, aged 25.
The citation for his VC stated: “Lt Col Bushell personally led C Company of his battalion, who were co-operating with an Allied regiment in a counter-attack, in face of very heavy machine-gun fire.
“In the course of this attack he was severely wounded in the head, but he continued to carry on, walking about in front of both English and Allied troops, encouraging and reorganising them.
“He refused even to have his wound attended to until he had placed the whole line in a sound position and formed a defensive flank to meet a turning movement by the enemy.
“He then went to brigade headquarters and reported the situation, had his wound dressed, and returned to the firing line, which had come back a short distance.
“He visited every portion of the line, both English and Allied, in the face of terrific machine-gun and rifle fire, exhorting the troops to remain where they were, and to kill the enemy.”
It continued: “In spite of his wounds this gallant officer refused to go to the rear and had eventually to be removed to the dressing station in a fainting condition.
“To the magnificent example of energy, devotion and courage shown by their commanding officer is attributed the fine spirit displayed and the keen fight put up by his battalion, not only on the day in question, but on each succeeding day of the withdrawal.”
Records show Lt Col Bushell was born on October 31, 1887, the younger son of Reginald and Caroline Bushell. His parents lived at Hinderton Lodge, Neston Road, Ness and he was educated at Rugby School between 1901-1906.
After three years at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he read modern history, he moved to a solicitor’s office in Liverpool in 1909 and was called to the Bar, Inner Temple in 1911 before being commissioned in the Special Reserve of Officers, Queen’s Regiment (Royal West Surrey Regiment) in 1912.
He married Rachel Lambert at the parish church in Wye on August 24, 2015 having been mobilised for military service on August 4, 2014 and going to France as part of the original British Expeditionary Force and taking part in the retreat from Mons.
Prior to gaining his VC, he was wounded twice, mentioned in dispatches twice and awarded the Distinguished Service Order on January 1, 1918.
To enable the ceremony to take place, Neston high street will be closed to traffic between Bridge Street and Parkgate Road from 1.45pm for about an hour and 15 minutes.
The stone is part of a national Government scheme which honours every Victoria Cross recipient of the First World War in order to provide recognition of their extraordinary bravery on the 100th anniversary of their actions.
Commemorative stones have been created for all five of Cheshire’s VC recipients from that conflict.