William Bush

Medals awarded

  • The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
  • Distinguished Service Order
  • Military Cross (and Bar)
  • British War Medal 1914-20
  • Victory Medal 1914-19
  • India General Service Medal 1936-39 (Clasp North-West Frontier)
  • 1939-45 Star
  • Africa Star 1940-43
  • Defence Medal 1939-45
  • War Medal 1939-45 with MID Oakleaf

Born 1 January 1896 in Derby, William ‘George’ Edgar Bush is another of the regiment’s soldiers, who by accident of the year of their birth, served in both the First and Second World wars.

William joined the Yorkshire Regiment in January 1916, having won the prize cadetship at Sandhurst.

During the First World War he was attached to the 8th (Service) Battalion and was at the Battle of the Somme, Ypres Salient 1916, Messines Ridge 1917 and the Menin Road, September 1917 where he was wounded. In Italy he served as Adjutant of the 8th Battalion and was awarded the Military Cross in January 1918, and clasp in April 1919.

He had various appointments between the wars, including Palestine in 1929 and India in 1937.
He was appointed to command the 5th Battalion in December 1939 where he created the battalion motto – ‘Forward Regardless’ and was present at the evacuation at Dunkirk.

He was proud of the fact that despite being greatly depleted, his battalion was able to organise ‘the Cordon’; facilitating the clearing of the beaches north of the Mole on the night of 2/3 June.

‘George’, as he was universally known, was captured at Gazala in June 1942, and was held for 14 months in an Italian Prisoner of War (POW) camp where he never ceased ‘giving battle’, constantly following whatever news he could obtain about the course of the war, and organising discussion groups to keep his fellow prisoners ‘war-minded’ in preparation for the day of release.

After the Italian Armistice he made his get-away and eventually reached Switzerland and remained there until the end of the war where he worked unceasingly, giving of his infinite capacity for administrative organisation in the interests of his fellow internees. He was awarded the OBE for his work relating to Prisoners of War.

Colonel Bush died in April, 1951.