William McFadzean

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
William McFadzean
McFadzeanVC.jpg
William McFadzean as shown on a mural in Cregagh, Belfast
Nickname(s) Billy
Born 9 October 1895
Lurgan, County Armagh
Died 1 July 1916 (aged 20)
Thiepval, France
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Rank Rifleman
Unit 14th Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles
Battles/wars World War I - Battle of the Somme
Awards Victoria Cross

William Frederick "Billy" McFadzean VC (9 October 1895 – 1 July 1916) was born in Lurgan, County Armagh. From Ulster, he was a British recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Details[edit]

McFadzean was a 20 year old rifleman in the 14th Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles, British Army during the First World War. On 1 July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme near Thiepval Wood, France, a box of hand grenades slipped into a crowded trench. Two of the safety pins in the grenades were dislodged. McFadzean threw himself on top of the grenades, which exploded, killing him but only injuring one other.[1] His citation read:

No. 14/18278 Pte. William Frederick McFadzean, late R. Ir. Rif.

For most conspicuous bravery. While in a concentration trench and opening a box of bombs for distribution prior to an attack, the box slipped down into the trench, which was crowded with men, and two of the safety pins fell out. Private McFadzean, instantly realising the danger to his comrades, with heroic courage threw himself on the top of the Bombs. The bombs exploded blowing him to pieces, but only one other man was injured. He well knew his danger, being himself a bomber, but without a moment's hesitation he gave his life for his comrades.[2]

McFadzean's father was presented with his son's VC by King George V in Buckingham Palace, London on 28 February 1917.

His Victoria Cross is displayed at The Royal Ulster Rifles Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

McFadzean played rugby for Collegians RFC.[1] He was also a member of the East Belfast Regiment of the Ulster Volunteers and the Young Citizens Volunteers[3]

Legacy[edit]

Private McFadzean was immortalised in song:[4]

Let me tell you a story of honour and glory
Of a young Belfast soldier Billy McFadzean by name
For King and for Country Young Billy died bravely
And won the VC on the fields of the Somme
Gone Like the snowflake that melts on the river
Gone like the first rays of days early dawn
Like the foam from the fountain
Like the mist from the mountain
Young Billy McFadzean’s dear life has gone
Now Billy lies only where the red Flanders poppy
In wildest profusion paints the field of the brave
No piper recalling his deeds all forgotten
For Billy McFadzean has no known grave
Chorus
So let us remember that brave Ulster soldier
The VC he won the young life that he gave
For duty demanding his courage outstanding
Private Billy McFadzean of the U.V.F.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Your Place And Mine - Armagh". BBC. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  2. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29740. p. 8871. 9 September 1916. Retrieved 8 November 2009.
  3. ^ Newsletter
  4. ^ http://www.upperbannfusiliers.co.uk/loyalistsongs.htm Upper Bann Fusiliers Flute Band

External links[edit]