John Russell (VC)

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John Fox Russell
Born(1893-01-27)27 January 1893
Holyhead, Anglesey, Wales
Died6 November 1917(1917-11-06) (aged 24)
Tel-el-Khuwwilfeh, Palestine
Beersheba War Cemetery
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1909 - 1917 
Battles/warsWorld War I

Captain John Fox Russell VC MC (27 January 1893 – 6 November 1917) was a Welsh 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.

He was born in Holyhead, Anglesey, on 27 January 1893 to William Fox Russell and Ethel Maria Fox Russell. At an early age, he passed the examination for a choristership at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was educated for three years before attending St. Bees School in Cumbria. While at School he was an enthusiastic member of the Officer Training Corps. He was also a member of the 1st Holyhead Scout Troop, Wolf Patrol. [1]

He joined the Middlesex Hospital when only sixteen years of age and it was while he was in London that he joined the University of London Officers Training Corps, obtaining a commission in the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1914. He was with them in camp when war was declared. Being anxious to qualify, he was seconded in order to complete his medical studies. After obtaining his degrees, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was attached to a battery of the Royal Field Artillery. He later re-joined his old regiment R.W.F 1st/6th Battalion (Anglesey and Caernarvonshire) and went out to Egypt as medical officer.

In the First Battle of Gaza he won the Military Cross. He was subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross at Tel-el-Khuwwilfeh, Palestine[2]


For most conspicuous bravery displayed in action until he was killed. Captain Russell repeatedly went out to attend the wounded under murderous fire from snipers and machine-guns, and in many cases, when no other means were at hand, carried them in himself, although almost exhausted. He showed the greatest possible degree of valour.

— The London Gazette, (No. 30491) 8 January 1918[3]

Russell was killed in action on 6 November 1917 and is buried at the Beersheba War Cemetery.[4][5] A memorial to him and two other VC recipients, Captain Leefe Robinson VC, RFC and Captain Richard Wain VC, Tank Corps was erected at St Bees School.

His Victoria Cross is on display at the Army Medical Services Museum, in the Defence Medical Services Training Centre, Keogh Barracks, Mytchett Place Road, Mytchett, in Surrey.

The VC memorial in St Bees School chapel.


  1. ^ Bebbington, David. (2014). Mister Brownrigg's Boys Archived 1 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine.: Magdalen College School and The Great War. London: Pen and Sword Books.
  2. ^ Dolev, Eran (2007-09-15). Allenby's Military Medicine: Life and Death World War I Palestine. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9781845112905.
  3. ^ "No. 30471". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 January 1918. p. 722.
  4. ^ "Casualty". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  5. ^ "John Fox-Russell (1893-1917) - Find A Grave..." Retrieved 2018-03-19.