b. 31/10/1887 Neston, Cheshire. d. 08/08/1918 Morlancourt, France.
Christopher Bushell (1887-1918) was the younger son of Reginald and Caroline Bushell of St Margaret’s Bay, Kent and was born at Hinderton Lodge, Neston, Cheshire on the Wirral on 31st October 1887. His father was a partner in the Liverpool firm of Bushell Bros and Co in Castle Street, a firm of wine merchants and shippers. Bushell was also a member of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board and JP for the County of Cheshire. He had a sister, Lilian. After his father died in 1904 Christopher’s mother, Caroline went to live in Knightsbridge, London and also had a property in Dover, Kent.
Christopher was educated at Moorland House, Haswell, Cheshire, and later at Rugby School (1901-1906). He was a keen rugby player with Notting Hill Club, and was their Treasurer. At Corpus Christi College, Oxford he was Captain of his college boat and also rowed at Henley Regatta. He was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1911 and in the following year, on 8th May, he was commissioned as a Special Reserve Officer in the 1st Battalion, The Queen’s Royal (West Surrey) Regiment. In 1914, he went to France with the 1st Battalion as part of the original BEF and took part in the retreat from Mons.
He was severely wounded on 14th September during the Battle of the Aisne. He returned to France in November 1915 and until June 1916 he was Aide de Camp to the GOC 33rd Division, and then Staff Captain 100th Brigade in the Battle of the Somme. In December 1916 he was temporarily in command of the 7th Queen’s and was their Company Commander, Second-in-Command and finally Temporary Lt Colonel (Commanding Officer). He was mentioned in despatches twice on 4th January and 7th November 1917. In January 1918 he was awarded the DSO for “distinguished service in the field.”
On 23rd March 1918 west of St. Quentin's Canal and north of Tergnier, France, Lieutenant Colonel Bushell personally led C Company of his battalion, who were cooperating with an Allied regiment in a counterattack. In the course of this attack he was severely wounded in the head, but continued to carry on, walking in front of both English and Allied troops, encouraging them and visiting every portion of the lines in the face of terrific machine-gun and rifle fire. He refused to go to the rear until he had to be removed to the dressing station in a fainting condition.
He was gazetted on 3rd May 1918 and was presented with his VC and DSO by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 13th May 1918. At the time of his award, he had been married three years, having wed Rachel Lambert on 24th August 1915, where Christopher’s brother-in-law was the Vicar. The couple had a daughter, Elizabeth Hope, born on 15th June 1916. Sadly, she would just be two years old when her father lost his life.
On 8th August 1918, while serving as Commanding Officer of the 7th Queen’s, he was killed at Morlancourt and was buried at Querrieu British Cemetery, France. His medals remained in family ownership through his widow and daughter for a number of years. In 2003, the family presented the medals to the Queen’s Royal Surrey Regimental Museum. The medals were fortunately in a secure location when a fire destroyed the Regimental Museum at Clandon Park, Guildford in 2015.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL SURREY REGIMENT MUSEUM, GUILDFORD.
BURIAL PLACE: QUERRIEU BRITISH CEMETERY, THE SOMME, FRANCE.
Christopher Bushell's medal collection (NOT MY IMAGE) including VC and DSO from when they were donated to the Royal Surrey Regiment Museum in 2003.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
ROW E, GRAVE 6
St Margaret of Antioch Church, St Margaret-at-Cliffe, Kent
Neston, Cheshire (Memorials to Valour)