Sergeant-Major John Crawshaw Raynes (1887 - 1929)
Honouring a Brave Soldier - Harehills Cemetery, Leeds. - Thursday, 13th November 2008
The Yorkshire Post dated 7th November 2008 gave the following report:
Grave service to honour VC hero
Published Date: 07 November 2008
By Andrew Robinson
THE Yorkshire grave of a Victoria Cross recipient from the First World War is to be rededicated on the 79th anniversary of his death.
It comes after a West Yorkshire policeman highlighted the story of Sergeant John Raynes's heroism while researching the First World War.
Pc Anthony Child, of West Yorkshire Police, has arranged for the grave of Sgt Raynes, a Leeds City police officer, to be rededicated at Harehills Cemetery in Leeds.
The Force Chaplain Rev Inspector Andrew Earl will lead a special ceremony on Thursday, November 13 at which Last Post will be sounded.
Sgt Raynes was awarded the VC while serving in France on October 11 1915.
The soldier, originally from Sheffield, went out under intense shell fire to help a wounded comrade and carry him back to the dug-out. Moments later, a gas shell burst t and, despite being badly gassed himself, he staggered across the open stretch for his smoke helmet and gave it to his injured colleague. The next day, he was injured when a house collapsed but still helped rescue others trapped in the rubble.
Sgt Raynes, was awarded the Victoria Cross for "conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty" and promoted Sergeant Major.
He was discharged from the Army in December 1918 and returned to Leeds City Police where he was based at the old Millgarth police station and rose to the rank of Sergeant.
His war injuries caused his health to deteriorate and he became paralysed. He died at his home on Grange Crescent in Chapeltown, on November 13, 1929, at the age of 42 and was buried at Harehills Cemetery.
The grave fell into disrepair but now the masonry and lettering have been restored. Pc Child said: "Sgt Raynes,' deeds were truly heroic. It is only right that he is remembered, and the restoration and rededication of his grave is the most fitting tribute we can pay to his memory."
The force's City and Holbeck Sports and Social Club is planning to donate or loan a collection of trophies, medals and awards to the Leeds City Museum.
I was very fortunate to be invited to the ceremony and had the pleasure of meeting John's descendents, and Anthony who was instrumental in he restoration and rededication of his grave. Before the ceremony took place I took the opportunity to photograph the restored grave. A fitting tribute to a brave soldier.
West Yorkshire Police
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