Official unveiling of sign in street named after VC hero from Rushden

Bernard William Vann'VC

Bernard William Vann'VC

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A VC hero will be honoured at the official unveiling of a sign in the street which bears his name.

Rushden-born Lt Col Bernard Vann VC was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

The blue plaque for Lt Col Bernard Vann

The blue plaque for Lt Col Bernard Vann

The town already has a blue plaque at 46, High Street South, where he was born and his name is on the War Memorial, but the sacrifice in World War One by one of Rushden’s most famous sons is to have further recognition.

Lt Col Vann was given the Military Cross and Bar as well as the Croix de Guerre during his time in the forces, however it was his leadership in a daring raid against the enemy on September 29, 1918, for which he received the VC.

He led the attack at Bellenglise and Lehaucourt across the St Quentin Canal in Northern France through thick fog and heavy gun fire.

His citation for the VC said: “Realising that everything depended on the advance going forward with the barrage, Lt Col Vann rushed up to the firing line, and with the greatest gallantry led the line forward.

“By his prompt action and contempt for danger the whole situation was changed, the men were encouraged and the line swept forward.

“Later he rushed a field gun single-handed, and knocked out three of the detachment.

“The success of the day was in no small degree due to the splendid gallantry and fine leadership displayed by this officer.”

The official unveiling of the sign for Bernard Vann Close, a street of Barratt Homes properties opposite the newly-built Rushden Primary Academy, will take place at 11am on Thursday, March 3.

The ceremony will include the Last Post and a one-minute silence observed.

A wreath will be laid by two pupils from the school before the unveiling of the sign by Michael Vann and Dr James Vann with family members present.

All those attending will then be invited to a reception at Rushden Hall.

Invited guests include the Vann family, Rushden mayor Cllr Kaye Rawlins, other Rushden town councillors, representatives from East Northants Council, Barratt Homes who are funding the sign and the metal plated statement below it, members of Rushden’s Royal British Legion, Rushden and District History Society members, representatives from the school and county councillor Sue Homer.

The proposal to name the street after Lt Col Bernard Vann VC was made by East Northants Council, which is responsible for the naming and numbering of streets in the district.

Any RBL branch members who would like to attend the ceremony and reception are asked to contact Jake Baker on 07525 441267 or email jake.lynne@virgin.net by 8pm on Tuesday, February 23.