In a special day of commemoration this Wednesday (6th May), boys and staff at Bedford School will remember the incredible bravery of Old Bedfordian Arthur Tisdall a century after his death.
Lieutenant Tisdall, who was a pupil at Bedford School between 1900 and 1909, was awarded a Victoria Cross for bravery in WW1 when he ignored orders and repeatedly rowed ashore at the notorious V Beach, Gallipoli, to rescue his wounded comrades despite being under remorseless machine gun fire. Tragically, Tisdall was killed shortly after and his body never recovered.
However, his great bravery was not forgotten. Letters were sent to Churchill and the military leaders by many men in Tisdall’s platoon and other witnesses describing his valour and bravery, and, as a result, in late 1915 he was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross with the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. “He was one of England’s bravest men’’ wrote one man in his platoon, “… all the boys thought the world of him.”
Family members including Philip Tisdall (Tisdall’s great nephew) and Jenny Woolner (Tisdall’s great niece), will join together with boys from Bedford Prep School for a special chapel service and assembly in his memory. The school’s Combined Cadet Force will also pay tribute to the Victoria Cross hero at their Annual General Inspection, fittingly being held that day.
A special service is also due to be held at the Tower of London where Tisdall was poignantly remembered in last year’s Roll of Honour amid the poppies: Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.
On 25th April, members of the Tisdall family attended a memorial at St George's Church in Deal, Kent, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first day of the Gallipoli landings, where Michael Stainer (56-66) laid a wreath on behalf of the Old Bedfordians Club.