en­graved stones to hon­our Great War heroes

Stockport Express - - Front Page - EMMA CURRY emma.curry@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @em­malouise­curry

TWO Stock­port war heroes are to be hon­oured with en­graved paving stones.

As part of the na­tional First World War cen­te­nary com­mem­o­ra­tions, a stone will be laid in the birth towns of sol­diers who re­ceived the Vic­to­ria Cross. Wil­fred Wood, from Hazel Grove, and James Kirk, from Chea­dle Hulme, were awarded this pres­ti­gious medal for brav­ery. Their com­mem­o­ra­tive stones will be un­veiled ex­actly 100 years to the day since they were awarded the VC.

Wil­fred, born on Fe­bru­ary 2, 1897, was a pri­vate from the 10th Bat­tal­ion, the Northum­ber­land Fusiliers, and was awarded the VC on Oc­to­ber 28, 1918, for his brav­ery and ini­tia­tive at the Bat­tle of Vit­to­rio Veneto in Italy, which took place be­tween Oc­to­ber 24 and Novem­ber 3, 1918 and was seen as a de­ci­sive vic­tory that con­trib­uted to the end of the war. His ac­tions un­der fire caused hun­dreds of en­emy sol­diers to sur­ren­der.

When Wil­fred re­turned home, he worked for Lon­don and North Western Railway (LNWR) for 46 years. He was mar­ried to wife Bessie for 57 years. He died on Jan­uary 3, 1982, and was cre­mated at Stock­port Cre­ma­to­rium five days later.

James, mean­while, was a sec­ond lieu­tenant from the 10th Bat­tal­ion, the Manch­ester Reg­i­ment, born on Jan­uary 27, 1897. He was posthu­mously awarded the VC for his brav­ery and de­vo­tion to duty near Ors in north­ern France, where he pre­vented many ca­su­al­ties and en­abled men from his bat­tal­ion to cross a bridge be­fore it was de­stroyed.

He was killed in ac­tion on Novem­ber 4, 1918, and is buried along­side the poet Wil­fred Owen, who served with him in the Sec­ond Bat­tal­ion and was also killed dur­ing the cross­ing. They are buried in the Ors Com­mu­nal Cemetery, France.

James’ par­ents were pre­sented with his post­hu­mous VC by King Ge­orge V in the ballroom of Buck­ing­ham Palace on March 1, 1919.

A com­mem­o­ra­tive ser­vice to un­veil Wil­fred’s com­mem­o­ra­tive stone was held on Satur­day (Oc­to­ber 28) at Hazel Grove Memorial, while James’ stone will be un­veiled this Sun­day (Novem­ber 4) at Chea­dle Hulme War Memorial.

The mayor of Stock­port, Coun Wal­ter Brett, said: “It is a great hon­our for Stock­port that we can recog­nise Wil­fred and James’ heroic ac­tions, un­veil­ing a ded­i­cated paving stone in their hon­our along with their fam­i­lies, is a great priv­i­lege.”

●●James Kirk, left, and Wil­fred Wood – who both won the Vic­to­ria Cross – and their paving stones

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