Gerald Robert O'Sullivan VC
Born in Frankfield, County Cork, Ireland on 8 Nov 1888, Gerald was the son of a Lieutenant Colonel in the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.
He lived in Wimbledon for part of his younger life and was educated at Wimbledon College, Edge Hill. This originated as a military academy, preparing students for future careers in the Army, the Navy or the Indian Civil Service. Gerald or "Gerry"joined the Army Class, founded in 1898 and run primarily by the Jesuit Fathers. Most of the students went on to train at famous military academies. Considered a headstrong and controversial character, Gerald graduated in 1906 and later attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.
Gerald was commissioned into the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1909 and spent much of the next three years serving in China with the 2nd Battalion. By 1912 his unit was based in India but the men returned to England following the outbreak of World War One.
In early 1915 the 2nd Battalion was sent to the Dardanelles for the Gallipoli campaign. The unit landed on 25 April and Gerald emerged from the assault unscathed, managing to distinguish himself during the first weeks of battle on the peninsula. He was awarded a Victoria Cross for valour during action at a position named Turkey Trench near Gully Ravine in early 1915. He was then 26 years old.
The following account was printed in the London Gazette, an official Government publication.
Captain Gerald Robert O Sullivan, 1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
On 1st July 1915, south west of Krithia, Gallipoli, Turkey, Captain O’Sullivan volunteered to lead a party of bomb throwers to recapture a vital trench. He advanced in the open under very heavy fire and in order to throw his bombs with greater effect, got up on the parapet, completely exposed to the enemy occupying the position. He was finally wounded but his example led his men to make further efforts which resulted in the recapture of the trench. Previously on 18th and 19th June he had saved a critical situation [ in the same area ] by his gallantry and leadership.
London Gazette, 1915
Gerald was evacuated to Egypt for medical treatment, however he quickly recovered and returned to his unit on 11 August 1915. Tragically he was killed a few weeks later on 21 August. He died during a charge up Hill 70. part of the “big push” to seize Suvla Bay. The land gained by the Allies was later captured by the Turks and O’Sullivan’s remains were never recovered. His VC was delivered to his mother, who was then living in Dorchester.
Gerald is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli.