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Lt Col Best-Dunkley commemorative paving stone

As a way of marking the centenary of the First World War commemorative paving stones are laid in the birthplace of Victoria Cross recipients.

In York a commemorative paving stone is placed on Mount Vale, it commemorates Lt.-Col. Bertram Best-Dunkley.

A copy of the speech made at the opening of the memorial by Colonel Mike Glover of the Fusilier Museum is available to download.

Bertram Best-Dunkley VC

  • Born: 3 August 1890, Mount Vale, York
  • Died: 5 August 1917, Ypres, Belgium
  • Buried: Mendinghem Military Cemetery, Proven, Belgium

Best-Dunkley was a temporary lieutenant-colonel in the 2/5th Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers. On 31 July 1917 - the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele - he was in command of his battalion at Wieltje, Belgium when it came under attack by rifle and machine gun fire from what had been thought to be Allied positions.

For his actions during this engagement Best-Dunkley was awarded the Victoria Cross. The citation in the London Gazette of 4 September 1917 read:

“For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in command of his battalion, the leading waves of which, during an attack, became disorganised by reason of rifle and machine gun fire at close range from positions which were believed to be in our hands. Lt.-Col. Best-Dunkley dashed forward, rallied his leading waves, and personally led them to the assault of these positions, which, despite heavy losses, were carried. He continued to lead his battalion until all their objectives had been gained. Had it not been for this officer's gallant and determined action it is doubtful if the left of the brigade would have reached its objectives. Later in the day, when our position was threatened, he collected his battalion headquarters, led them to the attack, and beat off the advancing enemy. This gallant officer has since died of wounds”.

King George V pinned the Victoria Cross to the shawl of his baby son. His Victoria Cross is held by the Lancashire Fusiliers Museum, Wellington Barracks, Bury, Lancashire.

Before enlisting with the Lancashire Fusiliers, Best-Dunkley was a schoolmaster at Tientsin Grammar School, now at No. 20 Tianjin High School, Tianjin, Northern China where there is a memorial plaque in the entrance hall.

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