George Cross medal group awarded to Lieutenant Bernard Ellis, 1/5th Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).
Lieutenant Bernard George Ellis (1891-1979) was awarded the Albert Medal (AM) during World War One while serving in Mesopotamia. According to 'The London Gazette' of 18 July 1919:
'On 21 August 1918, Lieutenant Ellis was with a party at Shahraban under instruction in the firing of rifle grenades. A volley was fired, but one of the grenades, owing to a defective cartridge, did not leave the rifle, but fell back into the barrel with the fuse burning. The firer lost his head and dropped the rifle and grenade in the trench, but Lieutenant Ellis, who was separated from the man by four other men in a narrow trench, at once forced his way past them and seized the rifle. Failing to extract the grenade, he dropped the rifle and placed his steel helmet over the grenade, which at once exploded, severely injuring him. There can be no doubt that his prompt and courageous action greatly minimised the force of the explosion and saved several men from death or injury'.
Ellis survived his injuries and in 1971, when the surviving recipients of the AM and the Edward Medal were invited to exchange their awards for the George Cross, he swapped his AM for the latter. He also received the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Allied Victory Medal and the Defence Medal.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, London
National Army Museum, Study collection