John Fox Russell, Royal Army Medical Corps

Captain, Royal Army Medical Corps, attached to 1st/6th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Died, aged 24, on 6 November 1917 during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign.

Born at Holyhead on 27 January 1893 at Plas Tanalltran, Holyhead, the eldest son of Dr. William Fox Russell (b. about 1864 at County Limerick, Ireland) and Ethel Maria Fox Russell (nee Thornbury) (b. about 1861 at Plyn, County Kerry, Ireland) of 5 Victoria Terrace, Holyhead. His siblings included William Fox Russell (b.1894), Ethel Elizabeth Fox Russell (b.1895), Henry Thornbury Fox Russell (b.1897), Thomas Fox Russell (b.1899), Kenneth and Charles Barrington Fox Russell (twins, b.1903) and Dacre Phillip Fox Russell (b.1906).

He married Alma Grace Isabelle Tyler at Ticehurst, Sussex on 26 September 1916.
 In his will he left his wife £327. 15s. 4d. She re-married Donovan Francis Edwin Whitehouse in 1919. She later died in New Zealand in 1990, aged 96.

He was one of the first to join the Scouts at Holyhead in 1909 and became Patrol Leader of the Wolf Patrol along with his brothers, Henry, William and Thomas. At an early age, he passed the examination for a choristership at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was educated for a few years before attending St. Bees School in Cumbria. While at School he was an enthusiastic member of the Officer Training Corps.


In 1911 he was staying at Gower House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk as a guest of the Garret family. He was aged 18 and a Medical Student.

He joined the Middlesex Hospital when only sixteen years of age and it was while he was in London that he joined the University of London Officers Training Corps, obtaining a commission as Second Lieutenant in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in 1914. He was with them in camp when war was declared. Being anxious to qualify, he was seconded in order to complete his medical studies. After obtaining his degrees, he joined the RAMC, and was attached to a battery of the RFA. He later re-joined his old regiment the 1st/6th Battalion (Anglesey and Caernarvonshire) Royal Welsh Fusiliers and went out to Egypt as their medical officer.


In the First Battle of Gaza on 26 March 1917 he won the Military Cross.

"He showed the greatest courage and skill in collecting wounded men of all regiments and dressing them under continuous shell and rifle fire."

He was subsequently posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross at Tel-el-Khuwwilfeh, Palestine.
"For most conspicuous bravery displayed in action until he was killed. Captain Russell repeatedly went out to attend the wounded under murderous fire from snipers and machine-guns, and in many cases, when no other means were at hand, carried them in himself, although almost exhausted. He showed the greatest possible degree of valour."

His Victoria Cross is on display at the Army Medical Services Museum, in the Defence Medical Services Training Centre, Keogh Barracks, on Mytchett Place Road, Mytchett in Surrey.

His brother Henry Thornbury Fox Russell MC RAF was killed in a flying accident in 1918. Another brother, William Fox Russell, served as a Lieutenant in the Army Service Corps and served almost 2 years on the Western Front before being severely wounded in the arm by a shell at Arras. He drowned accidentally in 1940. A further brother, Thomas Fox Russell, served as a Midshipman in the Royal Naval Reserve. He was a survivor of the Battle of Jutland. He died in 1956.

Buried at the Beersheba War Cemetery. Grave located at F.31. There are numerous memorials to him, including St Bees School,