SHEFFIELD'S VICTORIA CROSS HOLDERS
Whilst researching the life and army career of Arnold Loosemore, I was informed that there were at least six other holders of the Victoria Cross that had a connection with the Sheffield area. The six were
George Lambert who received his award for his actions during the Indian Mutiny of 1857
James Firth received his Victoria Cross whilst serving with the Duke of Wellington Regiment in the Boer War 1901
John C. Raynes was the first Victoria Cross to be awarded to a soldier from Sheffield for his actions during the 1914 - 1918 War
Arthur Procter received the award for the bravery and courage he showed in an incident just prior to the Battle of the Somme in 1916
William B. Allen was a Captain with the Royal Army Medical Corps but attached to the 246th (West Riding) Brigade., Royal Field Artillery. He received his award for his actions in France in September 1916.
James Welch was a lance corporal in the Royal Berkshires and received his Victoria Cross for his actions near Oppy, France in April 1917
Of the six, only two Arnold Loosemore, and James Firth were born, and buried in Sheffield. John Raynes and William Allen were both born in Sheffield but after the 1914 - 1918 war left Sheffield and are buried in Leeds and Bracklesham (West Sussex) respectively. George Lambert and Arthur Procter came from Northern Ireland and Bootle (Lancashire) respectively but died in Sheffield. George is buried in Wardsend Cemetery whilst Arthur is remembered by a memorial tablet in Sheffield Cathedral. James Welch was neither born or buried in Sheffield but spent most of his working life in the city.
The initial indications were that James Firth was born in Durham - an article in the Sheffield Star dated 16th March 2004 stated that he was born in Jarrow, Co Durham. However I have since received proof, by way of his birth certificate, that states he was definitely born in Sheffield.
Finally as a footnote, there
are no actual privileges bestowed to VC holders. The only thing they are
entitled to, other than having VC after their name, is an annual pension.
When the VC was first instituted a special pension of £10 per year was made payable to all non-commissioned ranks. In July 1898 it was decided this amount might be increased in times of need, at discretion, to £50 then later to £75. It was not until 1959 that the pension was allowed irrespective of rank and increased to £100. In 1995 it was increased to £1300 and at that time there were 33 recipients still alive.
For those readers who are interested in the wider aspects of William B. Allen's family, I would like to draw attention to the following. In late spring 2010, I was contacted by an author who was writing a book on the Sheffield firm of George Barnsley and Sons. I will let Pauline explain the scope of the book in her own words. The book in now available from the outlets mentioned at the bottom of the next paragraph. I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in local (and national) history - it is a fascinating story
"We really started off wanting to put together the story of the firm which is a brilliant example of the niche marketing of Sheffield's cutlery trade but Colin gave to me a cardboard box full of stuff belonging to his grandfather that somehow took the story wider than just the firm and then a few internet contacts popped up and we discovered Wm. Barnsley Allen V.C. and Arthur Bentley. I can't say I have a favourite story but I do think the photographs that Colin has that belonged to his grandfather Major George Barnsley are stunning. In particular the ones he took with his small camera in 1900 when he led the Sheffield Volunteer Engineers to the Boer War. Colin found the negatives all labelled and had them printed. There are about 50 altogether so I had to be very selective. I also found looking at the telegram that was with the papers telling him to put up the recruiting posters at the beginning of WW1 very disturbing somehow. Eugene's story I knew a bit about though very little. Eugene was my father's cousin. We would be delighted if you put details of the book on to your website. My motivation for writing which Colin shares is simply to have these individuals and craftsmen recognised and remembered"
!I thought you might be interested
to know that the book that I have written with Colin Barnsley is now
available. The details are at the bottom of the page. About five years
research went into it and it includes all I can find out about the Barnsley
family going back to the 1500s. A George Barnsley was renting a wheel from the
Lord of the Manor in 1637. The wheel in question was situated about a mile
from where I was born. He was probably the George Barnsley who helped start
the Cutlers' Company and became Master Cutler in 1650. The central section of
the book is the story of the firm of George Barnsley and Sons who made tools
for leather workers and which survived until 2003. The original building was
bought jointly by my ancestor Charles and Colin's ancestor George. They were
brothers. The works were in Cornish St. across the road from James Dixon and
Sons. The final section tells the stories of individuals who made
contributions to either local or national history many by serving in the armed
services. Included is some original material that Colin had from his
grandfather and father including pictures that Colin's grandfather took when
leading the Sheffield Volunteer engineers to the Boer War.
Thank you so much again for allowing me to use the material from your website about William Barnsley Allen V.C.
If you would like a copy they will be in all the usual outlets in Sheffield or you can get it through a local bookseller or I can post a copy to you. Please make payment by cheque to me or I do have a PAYPAL account. The book retails at £8.99 and if I post it to you it will be post free.
The book details are:
Forging History: The story of George Barnsley and Sons toolmakers and the family members who helped forge local and national history.
Pauline Bell with Colin Barnsley. ISBN 978-1-906722-16-6"
The London Gazette
Victoria Cross Research
Victoria Cross Reference
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This page was last updated on 10/04/13 09:34