WW1 Hero Honoured in Dual Special Ceremony

A commemorative paving stone has been unveiled in memory of Cyril Gourley who was awarded the Victoria Cross during World War One whilst serving with the 276th West Lancashire Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. 
He was born on 19th January 1893 at 6 Victoria Park in Wavertree before moving with his family to West Kirby in 1899 when he was six years old.
Cyril was educated at Calday Grange Grammar School and graduated from Liverpool University in 1913 with a degree in Commercial Science. He then went on to work for the Alfred Holt Shipping Line, who owned the Ocean Steamship Company, known throughout the world as the Blue Funnel Line, before joining the Territorial Army in 1914.
Sgt Cyril Gourley had previously been awarded the Military Medal in September 1917 for conspicuous gallantry in putting out a fire near an ammunition dump, however the action for which he received the Victoria Cross was on 30th November 1917 at Little Priel Farm, east of Epehy, France, during the Battle of Cambrai.
Cyril was only 24 years old, and a Sergeant in the ‘D’ Battery of the 276th West Lancashire Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, and was in command of a section of howitzers during an enemy advance.
When the award of his Victoria Cross was announced in the London Gazette on 13th February 1918, the citation read:
For most conspicuous bravery when in command of a section of howitzers. 
Though the enemy advanced in force, getting within 400 yards in front, between 300 and 400 yards to one flank and with snipers in rear, Sgt. Gourley managed to keep one gun in action practically throughout the day. 
‘Though frequently driven off he always returned, carrying ammunition, laying and firing the gun himself, taking first one and then another of the detachment to assist him. 
When the enemy advanced he pulled his gun out of the pit and engaged a machine gun at 500 yards, knocking it out with a direct hit. 
All day he held the enemy in check, firing with open sights on enemy parties in full view at 300 to 800 yards, and thereby saved his guns, which were withdrawn at nightfall. He had previously been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry 
(London Gazette, No. 68/886).
On 5th January 1918, Cyril Gourley was given a commission as Second Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery and he remained with the 55th Division until its disbandment in 1919. He was then appointed as a Captain in 1919, and proceeded home for demobilization with 276th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, in June 1919.
Post-war, Cyril worked for Lever Brothers, travelling widely to open up new business for the company and in 1925, he moved to Hill Close, School Lane, West Kirby. His house was later renamed Gourley Grange and the Lane was also renamed Gourley’s Lane in his honour. During the Second World War, Gourley was a Firewatcher in Liverpool and then in 1952 he moved to Haslemere, Surrey. He never married and died on 31st January 1982 in Haslemere and was buried in Grange Cemetery, West Kirby.
The Cyril Edward Gourley VC Scholarship is awarded in his honour by Liverpool University to undergraduates from Calday Grange Grammar School, West Kirby Grammar School or the Hoylake and West Kirby area. His VC medal is held at the Royal Artillery Regiment Museum.
The Victoria Cross is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.  In 2014, the UK government launched a campaign to recognise the First World War centenary commemorations and honour those men awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) during the First World War.
On Thursday 30th November 2017, a commemorative paving stone was unveiled in his honour at Liverpool Parish Church, following the earlier unveiling of a plaque at his graveside at Grange Cemetery in West Kirby.
In attendance was the Rector of Liverpool, Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, army reservists serving with Liverpool-based 208 (3rd West Lancashire) Battery, 103rd (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Regiment Royal Artillery, the unit directly descended from the unit with whom Sgt Gourley served.  Both events will also be attended by Sgt Gourley’s nephew, Colin Gourley, who has travelled from Australia, and staff from Calday Grange Grammar School Combined Cadet Force.
The Lord Mayor, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, said:  “Cyril Gourley was a courageous soldier whose selfless actions saved many lives. He was completely devoted to his duty and Liverpool is incredibly proud of him and this is why the City is honouring him with this fitting ceremony. I am personally privileged to be able to unveil this stone in his honour.”
“The stone will be a permanent reminder of the incredible contribution that he made to the war effort and his role in making sure that more soldiers weren’t lost.
“Exactly 100 years ago, Cyril fought for the freedom and peace that we all enjoy today. Therefore, we should reflect and give thanks to Cyril and others who gave so much for their country and our liberty.”
Both events will also be attended by Sgt Gourley’s nephew, Colin Gourley, who has travelled from Australia, representatives of Wirral and Liverpool councils and cadets and staff from Calday Grange Grammar School Combined Cadet Force.
Lieutenant Colonel Mike Edwards RA, Commanding Officer 103rd (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Regiment Royal Artillery, said: “Along with Wirral and Liverpool Councils, who have enabled this commemoration, the Regiment is honoured to mark this act of valour and recognise all those who have served and still serve in the British Army.  We are even more proud to do so with Sgt Gourley’s nephew, Mr Colin Gourley.”
For Pics see 2 links below:-
Grange Cemetery Service:-
Liverpool Parish Church Service:-
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World War One Victoria Cross hero honoured

A commemorative paving stone has been unveiled in Liverpool in memory of 2nd Lt Stanley Henry Parry Boughey who was awarded the Victoria Cross during World War One whilst serving with the Royal Scots Fusiliers, 1/4th Battalion. 

 It is the last of 10 paving stones to be installed in Liverpool as part of a scheme launched by the Government to recognise those British and Commonwealth forces awarded the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry, as part of commemorations to mark the centenary of the First World War.
Stanley Boughey was born on 9th April 1896 at 3 Danube Street in Toxteth Park, before moving with his family to Blackpool in 1905. Stanley was educated at Clifton College and in 1908 he co-founded the Hound Patrol of the Boy Scout movement, which together with the Lion Patrol became the 1st Blackpool Scout Troop. Before the war, Stanley was a keen athlete and was also a member of the St Johns Ambulance Brigade, however when war was declared in 1914, he went to France and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps at only 18 years of age.
In May 1916 Stanley joined the Ayrshire Yeomanry as a Private and then in April 1917 he joined the Royal Scots Fusiliers, 1/4th Battalion, as a Second Lieutenant.
The action for which Stanley Boughey received his Victoria Cross took place on 1st December 1917 at El Burf, Palestine, during the Battle of Jerusalem, whilst serving with The Royal Scots Fusiliers. Unfortunately Stanley was mortally wounded at the point of surrender. Therefore Stanley’s Victoria Cross was awarded posthumously.
When the award of his Victoria Cross was announced in the London Gazette on 12th February 1918, the citation read:
“For most conspicuous bravery. When the enemy in large numbers had managed to crawl up to within 30 yards of our firing line, and with bombs and automatic rifles were keeping down the fire of our machine guns, he rushed forward alone with bombs right up to the enemy, doing great execution and causing the surrender of a party of 30. As he turned to go back for more bombs he was mortally wounded at the moment when the enemy were surrendering.”
   
On Friday 1st December 2017, a commemorative paving stone was unveiled in his honour at Princes Park in Toxteth.
The event was attended by relatives, The Rector of Liverpool, Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, the Deputy County Commissioner of Merseyside Scouts and military representatives from the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Lord Mayor, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, said: “Stanley Boughey was a courageous soldier whose selfless actions saved many lives. He was completely devoted to his duty and Liverpool is incredibly proud of him and this is why the City is honouring him with this fitting ceremony. I am personally privileged to be able to unveil this stone in his honour.
“The stone will be a permanent reminder of the incredible contribution that he made to the war effort and his role in making sure that more soldiers weren’t lost. Exactly 100 years ago, Stanley fought and sacrificed his own life for the freedom and peace that we all enjoy today. Therefore, we should reflect and give thanks to Stanley and others who gave so much for their country and our liberty.”
For photo’s of the event, see link below:-

Thousands gather across Merseyside for Remembrance Sunday

Thousands of people came out across Merseyside to pay their respects to the fallen on Remembrance Sunday .

Despite bitterly cold weather, huge crowds were there for Liverpool’s commemoration, centred around the Centotaph at St George’s Hall with service personnel, local dignitaries and veterans marching through the city to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

This year’s service was especially poignant as it focused on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendale.

Joey the life size puppet from the National Theatre’s production of War Horse was at the service – to recognise the importance horses played in the infamous battle.

Representatives from all faiths helped to lead the service at the plateau, with Danielle Louise Thomas leading the crowds in singing the National Anthem.

Following the Last Post and the two minute silence, thousands of petals cascaded down from St George’s Hall in a very moving display.

For photo’s see the link below:-

Salute

 

National Armed Forces Day in Liverpool, England.

The national event in Liverpool, attended by Prime Minister Theresa May and Prince Edward, saw a Red Arrows flypast and a parade to the waterfront.

Mrs May said that armed forces are more relevant than ever, “playing a vital role” after the Manchester attack.

The day was billed as a chance for people to show their support for those connected with the armed forces.

As well as those currently serving, the event honours veterans, reservists, cadets, families and charities.

Parades, military displays, gun salutes and Typhoon and Red Arrows flypasts have been some of the highlights.

The Royal Navy’s type-23 frigate HMS Iron Duke was docked in Liverpool for the celebrations. A series of displays along Pier head also took place featuring planes, helicopters, tanks and marching bands.

Mrs May praised the “tremendous job that the armed forces do for us here at home and across the world, helping to keep us safe”.

The parade in Liverpool comprised about 100 personnel from each of the services, plus bands, veterans and about 300 cadets.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said there are some 10,000 service men and women who are working around the globe on operations or in British bases.

“They’ve been helping to deal with terrorism, they’ve been helping to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean, they’ve been on Nato deployments, they’ve been peacekeeping in South Sudan.

“All of that keeps us safer here at home. They’re out of our sight but they should never be out of mind,” he said.

For pics see my link below:-

 

Military parade

Pte William Ratcliffe Commemorative Memorial Stone Unveiled.

A commemorative paving stone has been unveiled in memory of a Liverpool docker, a century to the day since he was awarded the Victoria Cross during World War 1.

The stone was laid in honour of William Ratcliffe (1884-1963) who was presented with the Victoria Cross in 1917 whilst serving with the South Lancashire Regiment (now amalgamated into the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment).

William – known as Bill – was born at 38 Newhall Street in the Dingle, and was a pupil at St Vincent’s School in nearby Norfolk Street. When he left school, William worked on the Liverpool docks before joining the British Army at the age of 17 and served in South Africa during the Second Boer War. After serving, he returned to the docks until the outbreak of WWI when he re-joined his old regiment.

In April 1917, during the Battle of Messines, William Ratcliffe was awarded a Military Medal for gallantry and on 14th June, only a matter of weeks later, earned his Victoria Cross. He was 33 years old and a Private in the 2nd Battalion, the South Lancashire Regiment, when his battalion was ordered to attack a line of German trenches on Messines Ridge. William Ratcliffe was a stretcher-bearer, following up behind the advancing troops to bring in the casualties, and spent most of the night bringing in the wounded through a heavy barrage. He also located an enemy machine-gun which was firing on his comrades from the rear, picked up a rifle from a dead comrade and single-handedly rushed the machine-gun position and bayoneted the crew. He then brought the gun back into action on the frontline. His actions brought the award of the Victoria Cross, with which he was invested personally by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 26th September 1917.

When the war was over, Bill again returned to his job on Liverpool docks where he was affectionately known as “The Dockers VC”. In 1956, celebrations were held in London to mark the centenary of the Victoria Cross and all living holders were invited to be reviewed by the Queen in Hyde Park. Bill was reluctant to attend as he couldn’t afford to buy a suit for the occasion. When this became apparent, The South Lancashire Regimental Association intervened and a local gentleman’s outfitters readily made him a new suit free of charge, and Bill travelled to London.

He never married and later lived with relatives at St Oswald’s Gardens in Old Swan. He died on 26th March 1963, aged 79, and is buried at Allerton Cemetery. His medals, including his Victoria Cross and Military Medal, are on loan to the Imperial War Museum London. The German Maxim machine-gun which he captured that day in 1917 is on display at the Lancashire Infantry Museum.

His citation in the London Gazette reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery. After an enemy’s trench had been captured, Pte. Ratcliffe located an enemy machine gun which was firing on his comrades from the rear, whereupon, single-handed and on his own initiative, he immediately rushed the machine gun position and bayonetted the crew. He then brought the gun back into action in the front line. This very gallant soldier has displayed great resource on previous occasions, and has set an exceptionally fine example of devotion to duty.”

The commemorative stone is part of a national scheme run by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which will see every World War One Victoria Cross recipient remembered in this way.

The event was attended by Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, veterans and serving military representatives and also relatives of William Ratcliffe.

The Lord Mayor said: “William Ratcliffe was a gallant and fearless soldier whose selfless actions saved many lives. He was completely devoted to his duty.

“Liverpool is incredibly proud of him and this is why we are honouring him with this fitting ceremony on the centenary of his VC award. I am personally privileged to be able to attend and unveil this stone in his honour.

“The stone will be a permanent reminder of the incredible contribution that he made to the war effort and his role in making sure that more soldiers weren’t lost.”

William Ratcliffe is one of nine men from Liverpool who were awarded the Victoria Cross during World War 1, and a further four will be honoured in this way between now and December 2017.

For pics see link below:-

Memorial Stone

WW1 Victoria Cross Recepient Honoured in Liverpool.

A COMMEMORATIVE paving stone was unveiled in memory of a Liverpool man who was awarded the Victoria Cross during World War 1.

The stone was laid at Princes Park in honour of Ronald Neil Stuart (1886 – 1954) who was awarded the honour on 7 June 1917 for actions whilst serving with the Royal Navy Reserve on board HMS Pargust, a converted Tramp Steamer. The ship was torpedoed by an enemy submarine but the actions of the crew ensured that it was able to retaliate by opening fire, sinking it.

Ronald was born into a seafaring family on 26th August 1886 at 31 Kelvin Grove, Toxteth Park and attended Liverpool Collegiate School before taking on an apprenticeship aged 15 years with local shipping company Joseph Steele & Co.

He went to sea in 1902 on board the barque ‘Kirkhill’ and later joined the Allan Line which was taken over by Canadian Pacific. In 1914, he joined the Royal Naval Reserve as a probationary Sub-Lieutenant and was later promoted to Lieutenant Commander RNR in 1918.

In March 1917, in an action almost identical to that described in Stuart’s VC citation below, Campbell earned his VC and Stuart was awarded his Distinguished Service Order (DSO). The action for which Capt. Ronald Neil Stuart received the Victoria Cross took place on 7th June 1917 when he was serving on board H.M.S Pargust, again with Campbell.

For the action of H.M.S. Pargust and Capt. Ronald Neil Stuart, the citation in the London Gazette reads:

“On the 7th June, 1917, while disguised as a British merchant vessel with a dummy gun mounted aft, H.M.S. “Pargust” was torpedoed at very close range. Her boiler-room, engine-room, and No. 5 hold were immediately flooded, and the starboard lifeboat was blown to pieces. The weather was misty at the time, fresh breeze and a choppy sea. The “panic party,” under the command of Lieutenant P. R. Hereford, D.S.C., R.N.R., abandoned ship, and as the last boat was shoving off, the periscope of the submarine was observed close before the port beam about 400 yards distant. The enemy then submerged, and periscope reappeared directly astern, passing to the starboard quarter, and then round to the port beam, when it turned again towards the ship, breaking surface about 50 yards away. The lifeboat, acting as a lure, commenced to pull round the stern; submarine followed-closely and Lieutenant Hereford, with complete disregard of the danger incurred from fire of either ship or submarine (who had trained a maxim on the lifeboat), continued to decoy her to within 50 yards of the ship. The “Pargust” then opened fire with all guns, and the submarine, with oil squirting from her side and the crew pouring out of the conning tower, steamed slowly across the bows with a heavy list. The enemy crew held up their hands in token of surrender, whereupon fire immediately ceased. The submarine then began to move away at a gradually increasing speed, apparently endeavouring to escape in the mist. Fire was reopened until she sank, one man clinging to the bow as she went down. The boats, after a severe pull to windward, succeeded in saving one officer and one man. American Destroyers and a British sloop arrived shortly afterwards, and the “Pargust” was towed back to port. As on the previous occasions, officers and men displayed the utmost courage and confidence in their captain, and the action serves as an example of what perfect discipline, when coupled with such confidence, can achieve.”

It was indicated that the whole of the ship’s crew deserved the Victoria Cross, but in accordance with the regulations governing the award, the men were only allowed to nominate one officer and one seaman by ballot – and Lieutenant Stuart DSO and AB William Williams DSM were chosen. He was 30 years old and his medal was presented to him by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 21st July 1917.

He survived the war and pursued a naval career with Canadian Pacific, including the captaincy of the ‘Empress of Britain’, before giving up the sea in 1936 but continuing in a managerial role with the Company. He died in Kent and his medals are on display in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

The commemorative stone is part of a national scheme run by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which will see every World War One Victoria Cross recipient remembered in this way.

The event was attended by Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, veterans and serving military representatives and also relatives of Ronald Neil Stuart.

The Lord Mayor said: “Ronald Neil Stuart displayed undeniable courage whilst also instilling confidence in his crew.

“It is important that his contribution to World War 1 is remembered and I am privileged to be able to attend the unveiling of his stone.

“It will be a permanent reminder of the incredible contribution that he made to the war effort and his role in making sure that more lives weren’t lost.”

For pics see link below:-

The Memorial Stone to Mr Stuart VC

Atlantic Conveyor Remembered

A special service was conducted today on the 35th anniversary of the sinking of the Atlantic Conveyor.  The Liverpool registered ship was lost on the 25th May 1982 killing 12 people, 6 were Cunard crew and 6 were from the Royal Navy.

Atlantic Conveyor was requisitioned by the government, and was struck by two Exocet missiles and a fierce fire broke out during the Falklands War.

The service was held in Liverpool Parish Church and conducted by Father Crispin Pailing.  During the service representatives from Cunard and ACL spoke during the service.  Also speaking at the service was Revd Richard Buckley, FRSA Royal Navy who was the Chaplain to Hospital Ships during the Falklands Conflict.

After the service inside, the dignitaries including High Sheriff Stephen Burrows, Lord Lieutenant Dame Lorna Muirhead, Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Malcolm Kennedy and Angus Struthers walked outside to the memorial plaque for the Conveyor to lay wreaths and pay their respects.

See link for photo’s:-

Floral tributes and the plaque