Official unveiling of sign in street named after Rushden VC hero

Elijah Lawson, Major Jake Baker, Michelle Hollis (Barratt Homes), grandsons Michael Vann and Dr James Vann, RBL Chairman Paul Mills and Layla Jex at the unveiling of Bernard Vann Close

Elijah Lawson, Major Jake Baker, Michelle Hollis (Barratt Homes), grandsons Michael Vann and Dr James Vann, RBL Chairman Paul Mills and Layla Jex at the unveiling of Bernard Vann Close

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Relatives of a First World War VC hero gathered to see a sign unveiled in the street named after him.

Lt Col Bernard Vann VC was recognised at the official unveiling of a new street bearing his name at Barratt Homes’ Lancaster Manor development in Rushden.

Representatives of the Mercian Regiment, Private Monjeza, Captain Maddock & Private Earp join Major Jake Baker (3rd from left) at the unveiling of Bernard Vann Close

Representatives of the Mercian Regiment, Private Monjeza, Captain Maddock & Private Earp join Major Jake Baker (3rd from left) at the unveiling of Bernard Vann Close

A ceremony was held at Bernard Vann Close to commemorate the Rushden-born soldier, who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his leadership during an enemy attack in 1918.

Lt Col Vann also received the Military Cross and Bar and the Croix de Guerre for his bravery during his time in the Armed Forces.

The event was attended by members of the Rushden branch of the Royal British Legion, the Vann family, Rushden mayor Kaye Rawlins, town councillors, representatives of Barratt Homes, Rushden & District History Society members, East Northamptonshire Council, county councillor Sue Homer, pupils from Rushden Primary Academy and representatives of the Mercian Regiment (formerly the Sherwood Foresters).

A street sign detailing the history of the name’s meaning, funded by Barratt Homes, was unveiled during the ceremony on Thursday.

Judith Vann, her husband Michael Vann and their daughter Sophie, Dr James Vann, his daughter Felicity and his wife Sooty Vann

Judith Vann, her husband Michael Vann and their daughter Sophie, Dr James Vann, his daughter Felicity and his wife Sooty Vann

The sign reads: “Lt Col The Rev Bernard Vann VC, MC & Bar and Croix de Guerre was born in Rushden.

“During WW1, he was the Commanding Officer of 1st/6th Battalion The Sherwood Foresters and killed in action near Ramicourt on 3rd Oct 1918 leading his battalion in attack.

“He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his fine leadership during the attack at Bellenglise and Lehaucourt on 29th Sep 1918.”

Andrew Swindell, managing director at Barratt Homes Northampton, said: “We are proud to have been involved in the unveiling of Bernard Vann Close and happy to be able to provide a special informative street sign to allow Lt Col Vann’s legacy to continue.”

During the ceremony, pupils from Rushden Primary Academy laid a wreath, the Last Post was performed and a minute’s silence observed.

Those attending were invited to a reception at Rushden Hall after the ceremony.

Rushden RBL branch chairman Paul Mills said: “The Rushden Branch of the Royal British Legion are immensely pleased to have Lt Col Bernard Vann’s posthumous award of the Victoria Cross recognised even greater in the town by way of naming a street Bernard Vann Close added with the informative street sign.

“His ultimate sacrifice will now never be forgotten.”

Leader of East Northamptonshire Council Steven North said: “As the authority responsible for naming new streets in the district, we were aware that the Rushden branch of Royal British Legion was keen to have this local hero honoured in some way in the town and so suggested that a street be named after him.

“We feel privileged to be part of this naming ceremony and part of the Bernard Vann legacy.”

Homes at Lancaster Manor have now sold out, but Barratt Homes is currently building at nearby Ladywell Park in Wellingborough.

For more information visit www.barratthomes.co.uk or call 01604 419621.