Unit: 1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Location of VC action: Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey
Date of VC action: 01 – 02 July 1915
Citation: For most conspicuous bravery during operations south-west of Krithia on the Gallipoli Peninsula. On the night of 1st–2nd July, 1915, when it was essential that a portion of a trench which had been lost should be regained, Captain O’Sullivan, although not belonging to the troops at this point volunteered to lead a party of bomb throwers to effect the recapture. He advanced in the open under a very heavy fire and in order to throw his bombs with greater effect, got up on the parapet, where he was completely exposed to the fire of the enemy occupying the trench. He was finally wounded, but not before his inspiring example had led his party to make further efforts, which resulted in the recapture of the trench.
Gerald Robert O’Sullivan was born in Frankfield, Douglas, County Cork on 8 November 1888. His father was a career soldier in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Known as ‘Jerry’, he was educated at Wimbledon College from which he graduated in 1906. He had plans for a career in the British Army and attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Commissioned into the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1909, he spent much of the next three years serving in China. From 1912, the battalion was based in India but on the outbreak of the First World War was brought back to England.
The wounds O’Sullivan received in the action for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross required evacuation to Egypt for medical treatment, but he quickly recovered and returned to his unit on 11 August 1915. The 29th Division, of his which battalion was part of, was now at Suvla Bay and preparing for a new offensive. The Inniskillings were tasked with the capture of a feature known as Hill 70 or Scimitar Hill. During this battle, on 21 August 1915, he led a charge of 50 men to the hilltop but was killed. O’Sullivan has no known grave and is remembered on the Helles Memorial to the Missing. His VC was delivered to his mother who lived in Dorchester, and his name also appears on the memorial there.