Lest we forget – John Spencer Dunville VC
Just over one hundred years ago on the 26th June 1917, John Spencer Dunville, the grandson of Robert Grimshaw Dunville, the founder of Dunville’s Distillery from which Distillery Football Club was founded in 1880, died from wounds he received in action the previous day at Epehy, France. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
“His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officers, Non-commissioned Officer, and Men:—
2nd Lt. John Spencer Dunville, late Dragoons.
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”
London Gazette – 31 July 1917
To commemorate his death and the award of the Victoria Cross, Ards and North Down Borough Council recently held a Commemorative Service in St Philip and St James Church of Ireland, Holywood today. The club was delighted to be invited and Terry Thompson, Dawson Simpson and David Hunter attended the service on its behalf.
Second Lieutenant John Spencer Dunville VC is interred at the Villiers-Faucon Communal Cemetery, Somme, France.
He is one of a number of players and people closely associated with the club who lost their lives in The Great War (1914-1918) – “We will remember them”.