Case study

WW1 United States of America VC recipient Bellenden Hutcheson

The story of the United States of America First World War Victoria Cross recipient Bellenden Seymour Hutcheson.

Bellenden Seymour Hutcheson
Credit: National Defence Canada

5 men from the United States of America received the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for gallantry, during the First World War. As part of the Centenary Commemorations the people of the United Kingdom marked their gratitude to those courageous men by presenting a bronze memorial plaque to their home country engraved with their names. The plaque is now displayed at the Arlington National Cemetery. This archive tells their stories.

Name: Bellenden Seymour Hutcheson

DOB: 16 December 1883

Place of Birth: Mount Carmel, USA

Date of Action: 2 September 1918

Place of Action: Drocourt-Quéant Line, France

Rank: Captain

Regiment: Canadian Army Medical Corps

Bellenden Seymour Hutcheson was born in Mount Carmel in the United States on 16 December 1883. He graduated from medical school and spent several years practising as a doctor in the American West. After the outbreak of World War One, Hutcheson joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a medical officer. In August 1918 he was awarded the Military Cross for attending to, and dressing, the wounded.

Captain Hutcheson was awarded his Victoria Cross for his bravery and devotion to duty on 2 September 1918 on the Drocourt-Quéant Line near Cagnicourt, France. His citation explains further:

Without hesitation and with utter disregard of personal safety he remained on the field until every wounded man had been attended to. He dressed the wounds of a seriously wounded officer under terrific machine-gun and shell fire, and, with the assistance of prisoners and of his own men, succeeded in evacuating him to safety, despite the fact that the bearer party suffered heavy casualties. Immediately afterwards he rushed forward, in full view of the enemy, under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, to tend a wounded serjeant, and, having placed him in a shell-hole, dressed his wounds. Captain Hutcheson performed many similar gallant acts, and, by his coolness and devotion to duty, many lives were saved.

After the war he continued working as a doctor in the USA. He died in 1954, and was buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery.

Published 20 June 2016