The Victoria Cross
Christopher Bushell was 29 years old, and commanding officer of the 7th Battalion The Queen’s Royal (West Surrey) Regiment when, on 23 March 1918, west of St. Quentin’s Canal and north of Tergnier, France, his actions led to him being awarded the Victoria Cross. The citation, reported in The London Gazette No. 30667 of 30 April 1918, was recounted in several newspapers. He was invested with the VC, and the DSO which he gained in late 1917, by the King at a ceremony on Monday May 13 1918. He returned to the front line on 22 May.
Citation : For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in command of his battalion.
Lt. Col. Bushell personally led “C” Company of his battalion, who were co-operating with an Allied regiment in a counter-attack, in face of very heavy machine gun fire. In the course of this attack he was severely wounded in the head, but he continued to carry on, walking about in front of both English and Allied troops encouraging and re-organising them. He refused even to have his wound attended to until he had placed the whole line in a sound position, and formed a defensive flank to meet a turning movement by the enemy. He then went to brigade headquarters and reported the situation, had his wound dressed, and returned to the firing line, which had come back a short distance. He visited every portion of the line, both English and Allied, in the face of terrific machine-gun and rifle fire, exhorting the troops to remain where they were, and to kill the enemy. In spite of his wounds this gallant officer refused to go to the rear, and had eventually to be removed to the dressing station in a fainting condition. To the magnificent example of energy, devotion and courage shown by their Commanding officer is attributed the fine spirit displayed and the keen fight put up by his battalion not only on the day in question but on each succeeding day of the withdrawal.