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Maurice James Dease

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Maurice James Dease

Maurice Dease
Born 28 September 1889
Coole, County Westmeath, Ireland
Died 23 August 1914 (aged 24)
Mons, Belgium
Buried at St Symphorien military cemetery, Belgium
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1910 - 1914
Rank Lieutenant
Unit The Royal Fusiliers
Battles/wars Great War
Awards Victoria Cross

Maurice James Dease VC (28 September 1889 – 23 August 1914) was a British Army officer during the First World War. He was one of the first British officer battle casualties of the war and the first posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross in the war.[1]


Dease was born on 28 September 1889 in Gaulstown, Coole, County Westmeath, Ireland to Edmund F. and Katherine M. Dease.[1] He was educated at Stonyhurst College and the Army Department of Wimbledon College before attending the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He was 24 years old, and a lieutenant in the 4th Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers, and was awarded the VC for his actions on 23 August 1914, at Mons, Belgium.

Nimy Bridge was being defended by a single company of Royal Fusiliers and a machine-gun section with Dease in command. The gun fire was intense, and the casualties very heavy, but the lieutenant went on firing in spite of his wounds, until he was hit for the fifth time and was carried away.
Though two or three times badly wounded he continued to control the fire of his machine guns at Mons on 23rd Aug., until all his men were shot. He died of his wounds.
London Gazette, 16 November 1914[2]

Dease won the first Victoria Cross to be awarded in the Great War, 1914–1918, and he also won it on the first day of the first significant British encounter in that war. Dease is buried at St Symphorien military cemetery, Belgium.[1]

He is remembered with a plaque under the Nimy Railroad Bridge, Mons and in Westminster Cathedral. His name is on the Wayside Cross in Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Fusiliers Museum in the Tower of London.


Also remembered on a plaque installed in St Martin's Church, Culmullen, Co. Meath, Ireland

External links

  • Find A Grave profile


  • The Register of the Victoria Cross (1981, 1988 and 1997)
  • Irelands VCs (Dept of Economic Development 1995)
  • Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
  • Irish Winners of the Victoria Cross' (Richard Doherty & David Truesdale, 2000)
  • "Elegant Extracts", The Royal Fusiliers Recipients of the VC (J.P. Kelleher, 2001)
  • Royal Fusiliers Recipients of the Victoria Cross
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