Victoria Cross Grove
The Victoria Cross Grove commemorates ten recipients of the Victoria Cross who had connections with the borough of Tunbridge Wells.
The grove of 21 oak trees was planted during the winter of 1994/5 and dedicated on the 50th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, 8 May 1995.
The ten VC recipients
Charles Davis Lucas
Mate (later rising to Rear Admiral) in the Royal Navy
The first act of bravery to win the Victoria Cross medal was undertaken by Charles Lucas. He received his medal from Queen Victoria on 26 June 1857 for his action on board HMS Hecla in 1854, during the Crimean War.
Matthew Charles Dixon
Captain (later rising to Major General) in the Royal Regiment of Artillery
Captain Dixon gained his Victoria Cross soon after he was ordered to the front at the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1855.
Assistant Surgeon in the Royal Regiment of Artillery
William Temple was honoured for his courage at the assault at Rangiriri, New Zealand in 1863. John Duncan Grant Lieutenant (later rising to Colonel) in the 8th Gurkha Rifles, Indian Army Lieutenant Grant was awarded his Victoria Cross for his action whilst storming Gyantse Jong fort, Tibet in 1904.
Douglas Walter Belcher
Lance Sergeant (later rising to Captain) in the 1/5th (City of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (The London Rifle Brigade)
Lance Sergeant Belcher was the first Territorial from the ranks to receive the Victoria Cross, awarded for his bravery in Belgium in 1915, during World War I.
William Robert Fountains Addison
Reverend, Chaplain of the Forces, 4th Class (later 2nd Class) in the Army Chaplains’ Department attached to the King’s own Royal Lancaster Regiment
Reverend William Addison was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during World War I, at Sanna-i-Yat, Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq).
Eric Stuart Dougall
Acting Captain in the Special Reserve attached to A Battery, 88th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery
Eric Dougall gained his Victoria Cross for his action at Messines (near Ypres), Belgium in 1918, during World War I.
William Hew Clark-Kennedy
Lieutenant Colonel of the 24th Battalion, Quebec Regiment (Victoria Rifles), Canadian Expeditionary Force
William Clark-Kennedy was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery displayed in France in 1918, during World War I.
Lionel Ernest Queripel
Captain in the Royal Sussex Regiment attached to the 10th Parachute Battalion
Captain Queripel was awarded the Victoria Cross for his action in 1944, during fighting in Holland in World War II.
John Henry Cound Brunt
Temporary Captain in the Sherwood Foresters (The Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment), attached to the 6th Battalion The Lincolnshire Regiment
John Brunt gained his Victoria Cross as a result of his leadership and bravery at Faenza, Italy in 1944, during World War II.
John Duncan Grant
Lieutenant (later rising to Colonel) in the 8th Gurkha Rifles, Indian Army
Lieutenant Grant was awarded his Victoria Cross for his action whilst storming Gyantse Jong fort, Tibet in 1904.
The Victoria Cross was instituted by Queen Victoria on 29 January 1856 as a way of recognising acts of outstanding bravery by members of the armed services. Over time, the award has been extended to include members of Commonwealth forces.
The year 2006 marked the 400th anniversary of Royal Tunbridge Wells and the 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cross. To commemorate the two anniversaries, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council specially commissioned Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate, to write a poem, and artist Charles Gurrey to create a memorial sculpture. It was unveiled by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal on 13 October 2006. Extracts from Andrew Motion’s poem, Remembrance, feature on the sculpture.
Location and access
The Victoria Cross Grove can be found near the main Bayhall Road entrance to Dunorlan Park, in the more informal part of the park. It takes 15-20 minutes to walk to the Victoria Cross Grove from the town centre, or you could travel by bus. You may also like to visit other parts of Dunorlan Park and this map will help you find your way around the park. You can find out more about the park’s history, and events and activities at the information points at the café.
Dunorlan Park is naturally hilly. However, there is a relatively level path around the lake that can be easily reached from Hall’s Hole Road car park. The red paths are steep and may not be suitable for some visitors. Steps are also highlighted in red.