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Stonyhurst College VC hero on TV

Stonyhurst's portrait of Maurice Dease, who was given the first Victoria Cross medal to be awarded after the start of the First World War. (s)

Stonyhurst's portrait of Maurice Dease, who was given the first Victoria Cross medal to be awarded after the start of the First World War. (s)

The story of a former Stonyhurst College pupil who was the recipient of the first Victoria Cross awarded in the First World War has been featured in a BBC TV programme.

Maurice Dease, who was educated at Stonyhurst College, was killed in the opening engagement of 1914 at the Battle of Mons. The young Irish Catholic from County Westmeath had boarded at the Ribble Valley school for five years.

Maurice’s story was featured in the BBC 3 series “Our World War: The First Day” in an episode first broadcast earlier this month.

On August 22nd, Lt Dease led his men to Belgium. The Royal Fusiliers marched through the city of Mons to the canal at Nimy, where Dease set his two machine guns up on a high bridge.

Soon after sunrise on August 23rd, the Germans approached the bridge to appear in lines from different angles.

Despite being shot in the neck and head, Dease climbed out of his canal trench and took the machine gun of a dead soldier.

When it jammed, he crawled down the embankment to get it working, then climbed back and continued firing.

The citation for the VC reads: “Though two or three times badly wounded he continued to control the fire of his machine guns at Mons on August 23rd until all his men were shot. He died of his wounds.”

 

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