b. 24/07/1890 Harrogate, Yorkshire. d. 21/02/1953 Leeds, Yorkshire.
Charles Hull (1890-1953) was born at 3 Albert Terrace, Harrogate, Yorkshire on 24th July 1890, the son of Mr and Mrs John Hull. His father was an employee of the Harrogate Corporation. After attending Western Council School, Charles became a postman. He chose to enlist with the 21st Lancers (Empress of India’s) in 1907, and was a Private Shoeing Smith, with the role of looking after the horses. On the outbreak of war in 1914, Hull’s regiment were posted out to the North West Frontier of India.
On 5th September 1915 at Hafiz Kor, N.W. Frontier, India, Private Hull rescued an officer (Captain G. E. D. Learoyd) from certain death at the hands of the tribesmen. The latter’s horse had been shot and Private Hull took the officer up behind on his own horse, under heavy fire at close range, and galloped away to safety. Sadly, Learoyd would die of pneumonia in India in 1918.
Charles was gazetted for the Victoria Cross on 3rd March 1916, but due to his service in India, it would be over three years before he would receive his Cross. He finally returned to his native Harrogate in November 1919 after nearly twelve years’ service in the Army. It was also the first time he had been home for nine years. Hull received his VC from King George V at Buckingham Palace on 3rd December 1919. He was also awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French, and the father of Captain Learoyd presented the Harrogate VC with a handsome gold watch and chain, suitably inscribed. He also wrote to Hull’s parents to thank them for their son’s rescue.
After being demobilised, Charles became a constable in the Leeds Police Force, and in October 1920, he married Eliza Ann Brown, a native of Leeds, at All Hallows’ Church. He was also part of the honour guards at the interment of the Unknown Soldier at Westminster Abbey on Armistice Day, 11th November 1920. Charles remained in the Police Force for the rest of his working life.
Charles died at his home, 11 Chapel Place, Leeds and was buried in an unmarked grave in Woodhouse Lane Cemetery, Leeds. The cemetery was levelled in 1969 and is now part of the University of Leeds. There is a memorial plaque on the old cemetery chapel in his honour. His medals are held by the Queen’s Royal Lancers Museum, Thoresby Park, Nottinghamshire.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: QUEENS ROYAL LANCERS MUSEUM, THORESBY PARK, NOTTS.
WOODHOUSE LANE CEMETERY, LEEDS, YORKSHIRE. SECTION A, GRAVE 11804
Paul Reed – VC Medal on display at Thoresby Park, Nottinghamshire.
www.memorialstovalour.co.uk – VC Stone at Harrogate War Memorial.