Personal info

  • Name: John O’NEILL
  • D.O.B: 27th Jan, 1897
  • D.O.A: 20th Oct, 1918
  • D.O.D: 16th Aug, 1942
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Sergeant, 2nd Battalion The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians), 88th Brigade, 29th Division
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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The Battle of Courtrai, Belgium 14, 20 October 1918

14 and 20 October 1918

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The First World War 1918 

The final Battle of Ypres opened on 28 September 1918 but had been halted on 2 October 1918. Second Army now held a line from north of Ledegem, running south through Comines to Armentières. The Allied offensive resumed on 14 October 1918, the first day of the Battle of Courtrai. In the north 9th and 29th Divisions swept forward taking Ledegem, passing north of Moorsele and almost reaching Gullegem, north-west of Courtrai. Part of Courtrai was captured on the 16th and by the morning of the 20th, Second Army was across the Lys Canal, which ran north-east from Courtrai. That day the British began to push forward towards the Scheldt. 29th Division now advanced south-east from Gullegem, parallel with the Courtrai-Bossuit Canal, as far as St-Louis (St-Lodewijk).

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty near Moorseele on 14th October, 1918, when the advance of his company was checked by two machine guns and an enemy field battery firing over open sights. At the head of eleven men only he charged the battery, capturing four field guns, two machine guns and sixteen prisoners. Again, on the morning of the 20th October, 1918, Sjt. O’Niell, with one man, rushed an enemy machine-gun postion, routing about 100 enemy and causing many casualties. Throughout the operations he displayed the most remarkable courage and powers of leadership. 

Supplement to The London Gazette of 24 December 1918. 26 December 1918, Numb. 31082, p. 15118

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