b. 09/07/1887 Rushden, Northamptonshire. d. 03/10/1918 Ramicourt, France.
Vann was born in Rushden, Northamptonshire where his parents, Alfred George Collins Vann and Hannah Elizabeth Vann were teachers. He graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge and was a 1910 Cambridge hockey blue. He was a footballer who as a centre-forward assisted Northampton Town and in 1906 played 12 games for Burton United F.C. (who were then a League club) before making his three League appearances for Derby County in 1906–07. He also taught at Ashby-de-la-Zouch Grammar School in Leicestershire.
He was ordained as a priest in 1912 and became chaplain and assistant master at Wellingborough School (1913–15). On the outbreak of war, he volunteered as a British Army chaplain but, frustrated by difficulties and delays, enlisted in the infantry instead, initially in 28th (County of London) Battalion of The London Regiment, (The Artists’ Rifles), and was commissioned into the 1/8th Bn, The Sherwood Foresters (The Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) on 1 September 1914 and became Lieutenant on 26 April 1915.
He was awarded the Military Cross in 1915. "At Kemmel on 24 April 1915 when a small advance trench which he occupied was blown in, and he himself wounded and half buried, he showed the greatest determination in organising the defence and rescuing buried men under heavy fire, although wounded and severely bruised he refused to leave his post until directly ordered to do so. At Ypres on 31 July 1915, and subsequent days, he ably assisted another officer to hold the left trench of the line, setting a fine example to those around him. On various occasions he has led patrols up to the enemy's trenches and obtained valuable information." In 1916 He received a second award of the Military Cross "for conspicuous gallantry in action.
He was killed in action, shot by a sniper at Ramicourt, France, on 3 October 1918.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: BELLICOURT BRITISH CEMETERY, FRANCE.
The Reverend Bernard Vann's medals including his VC and his MC with Bar on display at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London (August 2014).
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
PLOT II, ROW O, GRAVE 1.
46 High Street, Rushden, Northamptonshire
St Matthew's Church, Coates