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Corporal Charles Hull


Harrogate Herald - 7th February 1917

[Very small extract out of a very long and interesting letter by Private D T Wilks from India]

Our camp is not far away from my old comrade, C Hull, but up to now I have not got into touch with him, though I did hear, from one of our YMCA friends that he had been acting as "best man" at the wedding of the officer whose life he saved when he got the VC.


Harrogate Herald - 8th January 1919

W H Breare letter

Trooper H G Smith, of the Dragoon Guards, one of the seven Harrogate men in the same regiment, was in the Army at the outbreak of war, and is on Christmas leave from his depot. His time was up two years ago, and he shortly expects his discharge. His sister, Miss Ivy G A Smith, was one of the first Harrogate girls to go on munitions, and has been presented with a shell in recognition of her full services. [See photograph in this issue] Her eldest sister was also on munitions. Trooper Smith joined the Regular Army at the same time as Harry Petty, one of Mr and Mrs J R Petty's six sons, who quickly rallied to the Colours when the war broke out, and was in the same class at Western Council School as Charley Hull, the Harrogate VC, who is in India.


Harrogate Herald - 12th November 1919

The Harrogate VC, Corporal Charles Hull, of the 21st Lancers, son of Mr and Mrs John Hull, of Albert Terrace, reached home on Monday night, after being away some nine years. His arrival was totally unexpected by his family, as, though it was known late in the day that the ship In which he had crossed had docked at Portsmouth on Saturday, the messages he had sent from the ship were delayed in transit, and he was still believed to be in the South. As a matter of fact, Corporal Hull had journeyed North on Sunday night, and the train on its way to the Ripon Dispersal Camp ran through Harrogate early on Monday morning. The VC kept a sharp look-out at Harrogate to recognise friends and acquaintances, but at half-past six o'clock there were very few people about, and none that he knew. He was busy with kit matters at Ripon during the day, and in the evening he came to Harrogate and pleasantly surprised his parents by his appearance. Corporal Hull looked the picture of health after the Indian campaign, and has grown and filled out after the nine years abroad so much that his acquaintances have to look twice to recognise in the stalwart soldier the man who went away. He has nearly twelve years' service in the Army, and is on a month's furlough, at the end of which he is taking leave of the Army. Corporal Hull was a postman in Harrogate before he joined the Colours. His father is an old employee of the Harrogate Corporation.

Corporal Hull won the VC in the 1915 operations on the north-west frontier of India by gallantly going to the rescue of Captain G E D Learoyd, who had been unhorsed, and was surrounded by his enemies, and who would have been killed but for the behaviour of Corporal Hull. The Harrogate soldier got his officer up behind him on his horse, and carried him to safety from amid the native enemy. Captain Learoyd died in Risalpur about a year ago. He was suddenly taken ill with influenza, and this turned to pneumonia, to which he succumbed in hospital.

Corporal Hull, in addition to the VC, was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French.

The father of Captain Learoyd presented the Harrogate VC with a handsome gold watch and chain, suitable inscribed.

The parents of Corporal Hull received the following letters from Captain Learoyd's father :

Launds Abbey, Leicester

Dear Sir, I have only just become acquainted with your address, and hasten to congratulate you and Mrs Hull on your son's well-earned VC for his very gallant and brave action in saving my son in the action at Shabkadir. You may well imagine how grateful Mrs Learoyd and I and all our family we feel towards your son, and look forward to the day when we may thank him personally. I also intend coming to see you sometime, but shall have to postpone the pleasure some time, as I am not very well at present. With our kindest regards to you and Mrs Hull,

Believe me, yours very sincerely,

A E Learoyd

Dear Mr Hull, I am very sorry I could not find time to come over to Harrogate to hand you the watch and chain for your gallant son, so I decided to send it you by post. Again I should like to say how grateful my family feel towards your son, and how sincerely we congratulate you, his parents, in owning such a splendid fellow for a son. May he soon come to you safe and sound.

Yours very sincerely,

A E Learoyd

It would be in accordance with the fitness of things if the townspeople were given an opportunity of publicly welcoming Corporal Hull back to his native town.


Harrogate Herald 30th June 1920

Wednesday Gossip

Among those present at the King's garden party to winners of the VC, were Mr and Mrs Smith Bell and Mrs Donald Bell. "Don" Bell, as he was popularly known, made the great sacrifice shortly after the award, but had he lived the day would have been the happiest in his life. Mr Smith Bell was struck by the simplicity and humanity of the party, and speaks in high terms of the King's great interest in the men. Corporal Hull, who was also present with his parents, is now a policeman at Leeds. His mother was delighted that His Majesty should remember the circumstances under which her boy won his VC, and speaks highly of the welcome they received.


Harrogate Herald 6th October 1920

Mr Charles Hull, VC, of Harrogate, who won the bronze cross as a shoeing-smith with the 21st Lancers on the Indian Frontier in 1916, and who is now a constable in the Leeds Police Force, was married at All Hallows' Church, l, on Saturday afternoon, to Mrs Eliza Ann Brown, of Rosebank Grove, Leeds.

The ceremony was performed by the Vicar (the Rev A B Fisher) in the presence of a large congregation.


Harrogate Herald - 4th July 1956

Photo - "In Proud Memory" - Lieutenant Colonel G E B Stephenson is pictured as he unveiled a plaque in St Peter's School, Harrogate, on Friday, in memory of the school's two holders of the Victoria Cross, the late Second Lieutenant Donald Simpson Bell, of the Green Howards, and the late Private Charles Hull, of the 21st Lancers, who won their awards in 1916. on the left is the Mayor of Harrogate, Councillor Edwin Pickard.


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