Commando Winners of the Victoria Cross

The Commando Winners of the Victoria Cross Plaque may be found at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Lt Col Geoffrey Keyes VC, MC.
Lt Col Charles Newman VC
Sgt Thomas Durrant VC
Maj Patrick Porteus VC
L/Cpl Henry Harden VC
Lt George A Knowland VC
Cpl Thomas Hunter VC
Maj Anders Lassen VC, MC**

DRW © 2018. Created 21/08/2018

Chasetown Saint Anne’s Church War Memorials

St Anne’ Church in Chasetown has become the caretaker of 4 plaques that were sited at the colliery pits where many of the men from the area worked. They commemorate men from 2,3,8, and 9 pits who lost their lives in World War 1.  The four plaques are mounted on the exterior wall of the church.

Unfortunately for most of the time that I was in Chasetown the church was surrounded in scaffolding and I only discovered these memorials towards the end of my stay so was never able to find out much from the people at the church.

Even though the plaques are in a good condition they are difficult to read. 

To the Memory of the Men from No. 2 Pit who fell in the Great War

Thomas Brookes • John Rochelle • Enoch Hancox
William Deakin • Alfred Ross • George H Evans
William A Elson • Enoch Smith • Albert Fairfield
Alfred E Fisher • Charles E Williamson • Walter Reynolds
John Rushton • W Harrold Williamson • Reginald Lees
Ernest Craddock • Frederick Crutchley

To the Memory of the Men from No. 3 Pit who fell in the Great War

Harold Spencer • Thomas Lewis • Albert Lees
Bert Gozzard • Joseph Robinson • Arthur Wright
William Buckley • Joseph Witton • William Daker
Horace Derry • Thomas Downing • Charles Beach
Arthur Heath • Walter Evans • Henry Griffin
John Kelly • Thomas Rose • William Robinson
William Robinson • Percy Bradshaw • William Fellows

To the Memory of the Men from No. 8 Pit who fell in the Great War

Alfred Bradshaw • John Dolman • Richard Stevens
Frederick Bailey • William Longdon • Herbert Nicholls
Edward Bills •  Albert Meaton • Enoch Bedow
William Day • Nonnie Pritchard

To the Memory of the Men from No. 9 Pit who fell in the Great War

Harry B Yardley • Roland Foster • Samuel Evans
Hubert Millard • Joseph W Roberts • Noah Lysons
Henry Duffield • Eli Bott • Bert Roper

DRW ©2015-2018. Retrospectively created 11/07/2018

William James Thompson VC.

William James Thompson (1830 – 05/12/1891) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Indian Mutiny on 9 July 1857.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 22347, Page: 179,  reads:

“60th Rifles (1st Battalion), Private James Thompson, Date of Act of Bravery, 9th July, 1857

For gallant conduct in saving the life of his Captain (Captain Wilton), on the 9th of July, 1857, by dashing forward to his relief, when that Officer was surrounded by a party of Ghazees, who made a sudden rush on him, from a Serai – and killing two of them before further assistance could reach. Also recommended for conspicuous conduct throughout the Siege. Wounded. Elected by the Privates of the Regiment.”

He is buried in an unmarked grave in Queen Street Cemetery in Walsall, Staffordshire.  A commemorative plaque is affixed to the wall of the cemetery.

A Memorial may also be found inside the municipal offices in Walsall commemorating the three Victoria Cross recipients from the town.  

Plaque inside the Municipal Offices in Walsall, Staffordshire.
Queen Street Cemetery, Walsall.

DRW. © 2015 – 2020. Created 25/09/2015. Edited 03/052015

John Henry Carless VC

John Henry Carless VC 11/11/1896 - 17/11/1917 Walsall, Staffordshire

John Henry Carless VC (11/11/1896 – 17/11/1917) is immortalised in a statue in Walsall, Staffordshire. He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his actions during the Battle of Heligoland Bight in 1914 while serving on aboard HMS Caledon.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 30687, Page: 5857, reads:

“Action in the Heligoland Bight on the 11th November, 1917.

Posthumous award of the Victoria Cross. Ord. Sea. John Henry Carless, O.N. J.43703 (Po.) (killed in action).

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. Although mortally wounded in the abdomen, he still went on serving the gun at which he was acting as rammer, lifting a projectile and helping to clear away the other casualties. He collapsed once, but got up, tried again, and cheered on the new gun’s crew. He then fell and died. He not only set a very inspiring and memorable example, but he also, whilst mortally wounded, continued to do effective work against the King’s enemies. “

Plaque on the statue outside the municipal offices.
Plaque on the statue outside the municipal offices.
Bust on the Plinth
Bust on the Plinth

A Plaque inside the Hall in the Municipal Offices lists the three Victoria Cross recipients from Walsall.

Plaque inside the Municipal Offices in Walsall, Staffordshire.

He is also mentioned on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, plaque 25, column 2.

And he is commemorated on the War Memorial outside St Mary The Mount Roman Catholic Church in Walsall. 

DRW © 2015 – 2020. Created 09/08/2015, edited 03/05/2017

Barton Under Needwood War Memorial

The War Memorial in the village of Barton Under Needwood in Staffordshire may be found outside St James’ Parish Church. It is on a small fenced island and the bronze plaques are not easy to read.

The churchyard of St James’ Church  has 8 casualties buried in it, and there are two wall memorials inside the church and a display relating to Private Francis George Keeling who lived in the village and who was killed on the 19th of May 1915. He is remembered on the grave of his brother who is buried in the churchyard. I have created a “community” on Lives of the First World War to commemorate the men on these two memorials


DRW © 2015 – 2020. Created 03/06/2015, URL changed 29/12/2019

War Memorials in Walsall

The town of Walsall in Staffordshire,  has a lot of War Memorials, and rather than creating individual pages for each one, I will rather put them altogether in one page and slowly split them off as I get to them one day. Images open in a new window.

Apart from the Cenotaph, the major memorials are situated in the Council House, and there are 4 that I know of, as well as 3 VC plaques that I did not know of at the time. There are also war memorials at St Matthews Parish Church, as well as St Marys of the Mount Roman Catholic Church.

As far as I am concerned the most spectacular memorial was the Alabaster Memorial by Messrs R Bridgman which must have stood in the St Paul’s Church close to the Council House. This has been “re-invented” and the memorial was moved to the Council House in 2002. There is however still a war memorial in the church, although it is a much smaller one.

War memorial in the former St Pauls church
War memorial in the former St Pauls church

The Alabaster Memorial is a beautiful memorial, and unfortunately it is not easily accessible. I was fortunate that helpful staff did take the time to show it to me, along with 3 other memorials in close proximity to it.

The Alabaster Memorial
The Alabaster Memorial
Information plaque
Information plaque

The next memorial in this particular passage is a Boer War Memorial. Unfortunately the legibility of the memorial is not that great, but the inscription reads as follows:


Boer War Memorial
Boer War Memorial

The next Memorial is the Roll of Honour of the Walsall Corporation employees who gave their lives in The Great War.

Wallsal Corporation War Memorial
Wallsal Corporation War Memorial

The final memorial in the council house I could not photograph completely. It is situated in a large hall, and comprises of at least 8 name plaques affixed to the walls of the hall, and 2 large murals flanking the pipe organ on the stage. There was also an addendum plaque to the memorial which was for those who died in service in the Korean and Malayan war, Falklands conflict, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cyprus and Germany.

Walsall Borough War Memorial Dedication
Walsall Borough War Memorial Dedication
Murals flanking the pipe organ
Murals flanking the pipe organ

The church of St Matthew overlooks the city from a hill, and it too has a war memorial, albeit in an awkward place. Photography here was almost impossible, but there are three name plaques that are not visible in the photograph.

St Matthews Parish Church War Memorial
St Matthews Parish Church War Memorial

St Mary of the Mount Roman Catholic Church has a small memorial in the parking lot, dedicated to the men of the parish who died during the two world wars.

St Mary's of the Mount War Memorial
St Mary’s of the Mount War Memorial

I am very sure that there are other memorials in the city and if/when I go back I will track down the three VC plaques, and attempt to obtain images of all the plaques in the Hall at the Council House.

Currently there is only a statue to commemorate John Henry Carless VC, which is situated outside the Library.

John Henry Carless VC
John Henry Carless VC

And at Queen Street Cemetery a small plaque announces that this was the burial place of James Thompson VC. Unfortunately I could not find a physical grave for him, although I do not know whether his grave has been formally restored.

I was really surprised by the memorials I had seen in the city, and I suspect there may be more, although accessing them is always a problem. Who knows what a return trip will reveal. My blogpost about visiting Walsall may be found on my other blog

© DRW 2015- 2018. Created 25/04/2015.

Walsall Cenotaph

The cenotaph in Walsall, Staffordshire may be found at Google Earth co-ordinates 52.583179°, -1.983704°, it is situated on a small island in the middle of a roundabout.

What does make this cenotaph interesting is that it is located on the site of a bomb which was dropped by Zeppelin ‘L 21’ which killed the town’s mayoress and two others. It was erected on 1 October 1921.

The town also has a large number of War Memorials in it which I will deal with separately.

© DRW 2015- 2018. Created 25/04/2015

Alrewas Village War Memorial

The War Memorial in Alrewas seems almost superfluous when the National Memorial Arboretum is relatively close by, but then the war memorial has been around much longer. A bus service runs between the village and Lichfield. The Arboretum is in walking distance from the village.

The memorial may be found at Google Earth co-ordinates: 52.732875°, -1.749580°. The National Memorial Arboretum may be found at 52.727889°, -1.731161°

Interestingly, the tree on the same traffic island has a plaque on it that proclaims that it was planted on 26 June 1902 to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII.

© DRW 2015 – 2018. Created 09/04/2015

Burntwood War Memorial

I was told about this war memorial in Burntwood by a local who was knowledgeable about the local history of the area. The memorial is a relatively new one and is in the parking lot of the Burntwood Memorial Community Association.   Google Earth co-ordinates  52.679631°,  -1.905920°

The memorial is not too old as it does not show up in 2012 images from Google Earth.

It commemorates men who died in both World Wars as well as in later conflicts.

©  DRW 2015 – 2018. Created 27/03/2015

Heath-Hayes War Memorial

I walked past these gates on my way to St John’s Churchyard in Heath-Hayes, and while I could not read the text from where I was, I did make a note to return and investigate on my way home.

After my photography session I headed for the gates, the ornate writing informed me that it was the Heath-Hayes Memorial. I went into the park, but could find neither hide nor hare of a war memorial. I was probably expecting the standard war memorial as I had seen so often. Puzzled, I returned to the gate, intending to look for a builders plate or similar and discovered that far from the gates leading into a war memorial, they were the war memorial!

Each gate post has a plaque on it, the inner two are from the first world war, while the outer pair are for the second world war.  Unfortunately the images were taken on a very grey and gloomy day, but I hope to return here one day and get better images.

The gates may be found at Google Earth co-ordinates  52.687202°,  -1.977399°

©  DRW 2015 – 2018. Created 23/02/2015