A Huddersfield soldier won the Victoria Cross exactly 100 years ago this Sunday.
And a special plaque will be unveiled to honour Pte Ernest Sykes who is buried in Lockwood cemetery.
When he enlisted in 1914 he was living in Milnsbridge but was born in Mossley and became a railwayman after the war so a plaque by the Railway Heritage Trust will be unveiled at Mossley railway station.
Pte Sykes won the Victoria Cross two years after nearly losing his foot.
Serving with the 7th Battalion The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment, his foot injuries were so severe after the Gallipoli landings in 1915 that amputation was considered.
Several operations saved his limb and he was posted back to the UK.
But he was later passed as fit to serve with the 27th (Service) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Irish Brigade), who he fought with at the Battle of Arras.
He was given the army’s highest award for bravery for treating five wounded men under heavy machine gun fire at the battle in 1917.
He died in 1949 and his Victoria Cross is now owned by the regimental museum of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers housed in the Abbot’s Tower, Alnwick Castle, Northumberland. His story and photo is also on a plaque in Huddersfield Town Hall.
The official citation for his Victoria Cross reads: “For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty (near Arras, France) when his battalion in attack was held up about 350 yards in advance of our lines by intense fire from front and flank and suffered heavy casualties.
“Pte Sykes, despite this heavy fire, went forward and brought back four wounded. He made a fifth journey and remained out under conditions which appeared to be certain death until he had bandaged all those who were too badly wounded to be moved. These gallant actions, performed under incessant machine gun and rifle fire, showed an utter contempt of danger.”
Ernest Sykes was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on July 21,1917.
He was demobilised from the army in May 1918 owing to sickness.
He returned to work for the railways and was deeply honoured when one of the locomotives, a LNWR ‘Claughton’ Class was named after him.
The nameplate was later transferred to an LMS Patriot Class locomotive which was withdrawn from service in 1962.
In 1967 the nameplate was presented to the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers Museum.
During World War Two Ernest served in the 25th (West Riding) Battalion of the Home Guard and was living in Lockwood where he died on August 3,1949 aged 64.
Ernest, his wife Alice and their two sons Percy and Harold were on the 1911 census as living in Milnsbridge.
Percy, who was four in 1911, lived in Linthwaite and went on to have three sons, Malcolm, Colin and Kevin.
Malcolm, 66, of Slaithwaite has three sons David, Paul and Robert.
David, 49, lives in Almondbury and has been involved in organising the plaque unveiling while Robert has created a website for people to share their stories of VC winners. To visit it go to http://victoria-cross.co.uk