The third of my collection of autographs to Irish born holders of the Victoria Cross (VC). Slightly off theme a bit as this is to a soldier of World War Two.
Marcus Ervine-Andrews was born in Keadue, County Cavan, Ireland, on 29 July 1911, the son of bank manager. He was educated at Stonyhurst, the famous Roman Catholic public school in Lancashire. He was commissioned in the East Lancashire Regiment in the early 1930’s and served on the Indian North West Frontier in 1936-37, where he was Mentioned in Dispatches.
He was 28 years old, and a captain in the 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, British Army during the Second World War in the latter stages of the Battle of Dunkirk when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC. During the night of 31 May/1 June 1940, near Dunkirk, France, the company commanded by Captain Ervine-Andrews was heavily outnumbered and under intense German fire. When the enemy attacked at dawn and crossed the Canal de Bergues, Ervine-Andrews, with volunteers from his company, rushed to a barn and from the roof shot 17 of the enemy with a rifle and many more with a Bren gun. When the barn was shattered and alight, he sent the wounded to the rear and led the remaining eight men back.
He later achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was the last Irishman who was awarded the VC during the Second World War to die, on 30 March 1995, at the age of 83. His memorial is at Stonyhurst College, Clitheroe, Lancashire. His VC is held at Blackburn Museum.