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Charles Hull - the Harrogate hero awarded a Victoria Cross

PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 November 2015

Two special paving stones are being laid at Harrogate Cenotaph for VC recipients Charles Hull and Donald Simpson Bell

Two special paving stones are being laid at Harrogate Cenotaph for VC recipients Charles Hull and Donald Simpson Bell

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Harrogate pays tribute to a First World War hero

Harrogate pays tribute to Private Charles Hull on the 100th anniversary of his Victoria Cross awardHarrogate pays tribute to Private Charles Hull on the 100th anniversary of his Victoria Cross award

Charles Hull was one of only 628 people to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War for showing immense courage and loyalty to save a comrade under fire.

The original citation reads that on September 5th 1915 at Haviz Kor on the North Western Frontier of India, 25-year-old Private Hull of the 21st Lancers ‘rescued an officer from certain death at the hands of the tribesmen.

‘The latter’s horse had been shot,’ it continues, ‘and Private Hull took the officer up behind on his own horse, under heavy fire at close range, and galloped away to safety.’

This incredible act of bravery has now been commemorated with a special paving stone, dedicated at the Cenotaph in Harrogate to mark the 100th anniversary of the medal being awarded.

It’s part of a government campaign to honour all First World War VC recipients that will see paving stones laid out in the their birth places over the four years that mark the 100th anniversary of the war.

The aim is to honour the bravery of the valiant few while providing a lasting legacy in their home towns and enabling residents to get a better understanding of how their area played a part in the long, hard-fought conflict.

Harrogate’s stone dedication ceremony for Charles Hull, was born in the town in 1890 and died on February 30th 1953 in Leeds, was led by the Reverend Tim Hurren, minister at St Peter’s Church.

The service included a reading by the Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Councillor Nigel Simms, and wreath-laying by representatives of the 21st Lancers (now the Queen’s Royal Lancers) and the Victoria Cross.

The commemorative paving stone to Private Hull is one of two being laid in Harrogate over the next two years. Next July a second commemorative service will be held to mark the 100th anniversary of the awarding of the VC to Lieutenant Donald Simpson Bell, who was born in the town in 1890 and went on to become a noted footballer, playing for Crystal Palace and Newcastle United.

He received the Victoria Cross for his actions on July 5th 1916 at Horseshoe Trench in the Somme for ‘most conspicuous bravery’. During a heavy machine gun attack, he crept up a communication trench, rushed across open ground and attacked the enemy, destroying their guns and bombs in the process.

Sadly, this valiant officer died just five days later while performing a similar act of incredible bravery.

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