VC hero’s statue delivered before official unveiling
● A STATUE to a Widnes Victoria Cross (VC) hero has finally arrived in the town ahead of its official unveiling next year.
The Sergeant Thomas Mottershead Statue Appeal launched in May 2014 with the aim of raising funds for a tribute to the First World War airman.
And the statue to Sgt Mottershead – who served in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) predecessor – has now been placed in Victoria Park.
It is due to be officially unveiled at the start of next April to coincide with the centenary of the RAF’s formation.
Appeal secretary and founder Tony Miller said: “The arrival of the statue was a truly amazing thing, after three years of very hard work by myself and the committee to see Tom in place was just fantastic.
“The committee have been fantastic, hard working, and each donating money that runs into three figures.
“I have never known committee members do that before, such is their dedication to the appeal.
“They are also continuing with the next appeal for Tom Wilkinson VC. I couldn’t ask for more.”
The statue was made by sculptor David Annand.
Sgt Mottershead plane’s was ignited by German fire over the Western Front in January 1917, but he saved the life of his observer by landing the aircraft behind British lines.
He later died from his injuries and was buried in France.
Sgt Mottershead was awarded the VC posthumously, with his wife being presented with her late husband’s medal by King George V in London in June 1917.
A commemorative stone was unveiled in Victoria Park earlier this year and there is also a plaque at his birthplace on Vine Street.
A campaign to build a statue to another Widnes VC recipient is due to officially launch next January.
Acting Lieutenant Thomas Wilkinson was given his award posthumously for actions against the Japanese in the Far East in the Second World War.
The tribute – projected to cost more than £65,000 – would be located in West Bank. ●
A statue to Runcorn VC recipient Private Thomas Alfred ‘Todger’ Jones was unveiled in the town in 2014, with a commemorative paving stone also placed in his honour exactly 100 years to the day since the act of bravery that led to his award.
He was awarded the VC for killing a sniper and capturing 102 soldiers single-handedly during the Battle Of Morval in September 1916.
He died in January 1956, is buried in Runcorn Cemetery and his VC is displayed at the Cheshire Military Museum in Chester.
Sculptor David Annand with his statue of Sgt Thomas Mottershead
The statue arrives in place