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

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"  

 Main Sources

The London Gazette

Victoria Cross Research

Victoria Cross Reference

Victoria Cross

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This page was last updated on 10/04/13 09:34