Twin tributes in honour of heroe of Ypres

CIVIC HONOUR: Mayor  Andy Tatchell unveils the blue plaque at St John's Court
CIVIC HONOUR: Mayor Andy Tatchell unveils the blue plaque at St John's Court

A courageous Burnley officer, awarded the Victoria Cross in the First World War, has now been honoured at home and overseas in the same week.

Hugh Colvin, a Second Lieutenant in the 9th Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment, was awarded the VC – the highest British military honour – in 1917 following his brave ­actions at Ypres.

RESTING PLACE: Justin Pate lays a wreath of poppies at the grave of Hugh Colvin VC

RESTING PLACE: Justin Pate lays a wreath of poppies at the grave of Hugh Colvin VC

Now, he has been honoured again, with a blue plaque from Burnley Civic Trust and by a wreath of poppies placed on his grave in Northern Ireland by a Burnley resident.

Mayor of Burnley Coun. Andy Tatchell unveiled the plaque on behalf of Burnley Civic Trust at St John’s Court, which was the site of the former St John’s Church where he was baptised – the house in which he was born in Gannow Lane has since been demolished.

On Remembrance Sunday, Burnley resident Mr Justin Pate laid a wreath of poppies at Carnmoney Cemetery, Belfast, on behalf of the Rathcoole Friends of the Somme.

The Mayor said: “Burnley Council and Burnley Civic Trust have commissioned a small number of blue plaques to mark the remarkable achievement of Burnley soldiers who were awarded the Victoria Cross.

“Although countless deserving soldiers went far and beyond the call of duty in the many battles of the Great War, the few who received the VC were indeed remarkable.”

Born in 1887, Hugh moved to Cheshire with his family when he was nine years old.

He survived the war and later moved to Northern Ireland where he died on September 16th, 1962, aged 75.

A citation for his VC read: “On September 20th, 1917, east of Ypres, Belgium, when all the other officers of his company and all but one in the leading company had become casualties, Second Lieutenant Colvin took command of both companies and led them forward under heavy fire with great success.

“He went with only two men to a dug-out, when he left the men on top, entered it alone and brought out 14 prisoners. He then proceeded to clear other dug-outs, alone or with only one man, capturing machine-guns, killing some of the enemy and taking a large number of prisoners.”

He later achieved the rank of Major.