VC hero’s statue de­liv­ered be­fore of­fi­cial un­veil­ing

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page -

● 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

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