South Ribble’s brave Victoria Cross hero set to be honoured

A POIGNANT new memorial is set to honour South Ribble’s only recipient of the Victoria Cross from the First World War. To mark the centenary of the end of the military campaign, each soldier from across the country who was bestowed the top military honour will be remembered with a new plaque in their home town.
In Bamber Bridge, the tribute to Corporal John McNamara is set to be unveiled at the new community garden in Withy Grove – where the sculpture of the new iron tree sits.
His proud family are due to join crowds there for a special ceremony on Sunday, September 2 at 2pm.
Corporal McNamara was stationed in Solesmes, France, when he died on 16 October 1918.
Only weeks earlier, he was out in the trenches, rescuing wounded comrades and escorting them to safety – despite intense enemy fire.
It was this ‘bravery, initiative and devotion to duty’ that earned him the Victoria Cross, awarded after his death.
Cpl McNamara’s granddaughter, Stella Holmes, 76, from Leyland, said: “My grandfather died before I was born and my mum was only nine years old at the time. Still, ‘Grandad McNamara’ remains a big hero to all the family.
“We’re very, very proud of him. We’ve all got the cuttings; we’ve all been to the war grave in Ypres, Belgium; and we’ve been learning the story of how we came to win the Victoria Cross.
“We’re all so proud of him as he’s the only person from South Ribble to receive this huge honour. He’s one of the borough’s greatest historical icons.
“It will be a special day when the new plaque is unveiled in Bamber Bridge and I’m sure there’ll be a lot of support from people locally.”
A new exhibition has now opened at the South Ribble Museum and Exhibition Centre commemorating the lives of more than 600 local men who lost their lives in the conflict.
Charles O’Donnell, originator of the South Ribble in the Great War website, has selected the stories of 10 of those men as illustrative of the whole; drawn from engagements throughout the war.
Corporal McNamara’s is one of the ten portraits and the museum has been fortunate in obtaining a number of items from his archive, which is held by the Surrey Regimental Museum.
Donations to South Ribble Museum and Exhibition Centre have also been used to buy exact replicas of his medals – and these are now on display at the museum on Church Road in Leyland.
Dr David Hunt, Curator of South Ribble Museum and Exhibition Centre, said: “John McNamara’s actions were of unparalleled bravery. Under intense enemy fire, he showed amazing courage combined with thought for others.
“That is why, today, we remember the heroics and sacrifice of Cpl McNamara and his comrades from South Ribble and Mid-Lancashire.”
The unveiling of the new plaque on Sunday, September 2 is open to all members of the public.

Our thanks to local South Ribble Councillor Barrie Yates for sending us this report.


                                       The Good Citizen Medal
We are aware that there are a special breed of citizens that show their respect to their fellows by carrying out little acts of kindness that often go unrecognized and unrewarded. However, we at the BBB are about to remedy this by rewarding such selfless acts by local residents with our 'GOOD CITIZEN MEDAL'.
It has been brought to our attention that one such citizen, a Mr Humphreys who lives in the Brindle Road area of Bamber Bridge has, without any prompting, taken upon himself the task of keeping litter free what once was one of the scruffiest areas in our little town. We're talking about the path that leads from the bottom of Brown Lane, skirts a local school and comes out in Cottage Lane.
Now we are not suggesting for a moment that the pupils are not litter concious but somehow or other the path often used to resemble the local tip. However, thanks to the efforts of Mr Humphreys it is now a pleasure to walk along this popular pathway. Another local resident has this to say about his unstinted efforts:-

 "I go out walking everyday and sometimes I use the footpath, however I have noticed how clean the area is during the Summer months. No litter to be found and although the children have been back at school the area is still litter free. Today I met the local resident who is responsible for keeping the area so clean. He also lives in the Brindle Road area and his name is Mr Humphreys. I think that it would be nice to give him some recognition. He does an amazing job and he gives up a lot of his time to keep the area looking nice."

Well Mr Humphreys, your efforts have not gone unrecognized and it gives us great pleasure to make you the inaugurall recipient of the BBB's GCM and your name will be added to our roll of honour - Well done sir!

If you know of anyone who you believe to be deserving of receiving the GCM then just drop us a line and we will include them in our next update.

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