The Lord Mayor, Steve Summers, Westminster’s Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Rachael Robathan, and Chief of Staff for London District, Colonel Crispin Lockhart, led the ceremony at Victoria Embankment on 27 April. British Army officers, soldiers from Lieutenant Dunville’s regiment and the Household Cavalry, joined them in remembering his gallantry and service during the Great War.
Lieutenant Dunville was 21-years-old and a Second Lieutenant in the First Royal Dragoons when he undertook the actions for which he received a VC. On 24 and 25 June 1917, he was in charge of a party of Scouts and Royal Engineers, who were working toward the demolition of the enemy’s wire fencing. On observing the difficulty an officer was having in the line of duty, he positioned himself between the officer and the enemy’s fire.
This act of selflessness enabled the officer to complete work of great importance and although severely wounded, Lieutenant Dunville continued to direct his men in the wire-cutting until the raid was successfully completed. He died of his wounds the following day.
Westminster’s Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Rachael Robathan, said: “Today we stand together to thank and honour Lieutenant John Spencer Dunville and all of the uniformed personnel, past and present, who work to keep us safe. In our remembrance of Lieutenant Dunville’s outstanding valour and bravery, we look to the future and ask what we can do now to forge stronger links between military and civilian communities.
“Our work with the Community Covenant over the last 5 years has taken great strides towards ensuring Westminster is a welcoming and supportive place for Armed Forces’ personnel and we continue to offer our support to their families and the wider military community.”
Colonel Crispin Lockhart MBE, Chief of Staff, London District: “Westminster City Council signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant on 26 June 2012. Since the signing, the council has worked closely with the Ministry of Defence and has built an excellent working relationship benefiting both the military and civilian communities.
“It is an honour to be working with Westminster City Council in commemorating the 100th Anniversary, when Lt Dunville was awarded his Victoria Cross, supported by the present day Regiment, The Blues and Royals, one part of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. This commemoration has a personal significance as my father served in the same Regiment as Lt Dunville VC, the 1st Royal Dragoons.
“We are extremely grateful to all those who have provided support to this commemoration.”