A bronze plaque commemorates Lieutenant Edward Donald Bellew, machine gun officer of the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion (1st British Columbia Regiment) who during the Second Battle of Ypres, 1915, was awarded the Victoria Cross, the British Empire's highest award for conspicuous gallantry in the face of the enemy.
In the first week of April, Canadian troops were moved to a salient in the Allied line in front of the City of Ypres. On the Canadian right were two British divisions and on their left a French division, the 45th Algerian.
On 24 April 1915, during the grim battle of St. Julien, the Second Battle of Ypres, the Germans attacked in an attempt to obliterate the salient once and for all with a violent bombardment followed by a second chlorine gas attack. The target was the Canadian lines. During the terrible fighting, withered with shrapnel and machine-gun fire, hampered with rifles that jammed, violently ill and gasping for air through mud soaked handkerchiefs, they held on until reinforcements arrived. Their tenacity and bravery was unsurpassed.
It was during this action that Lieutenant Bellew was awarded the Victoria Cross. His citation states:
On 24 April 1915 near Kerselaere, Belgium, the advance of the enemy was temporarily stayed by Lieutenant Bellew, the battalion machine-gun officer, who had two guns in action on high ground when the enemies attack broke in full force. Reinforcements which were sent forward having been destroyed, and with the enemy less than 100 yards away and no further assistance in sight, Lieutenant Bellew and a sergeant decide to fight it out. The sergeant was killed and Lieutenant Bellew wounded, nevertheless, he maintained his fire until his ammunition failed, when he seized a rifle, smashed his machine-gun and, fighting to the last, was taken prisoner.
Thus by the dogged determination, outstanding devotion to duty and superb gallantry of this officer, he was successful in temporarily staying the initial enemy attack.