Harold John Colley VC MM (26 May 1895 – 25 August 1918) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He was born at 60 Winson Street in the Soho district of Birmingham, England. The family moved to nearby Smethwick sometime prior to the 1911 Census, where they can be found at 74 Cheshire Road. This remained his home address during the First World War,
Colley was 24 years old, and an acting sergeant in the 10th Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 25 August 1918 at Martinpuich, France, during a strong counter-attack Sergeant Colley’s company was holding an advanced position with two platoons in advance and two in support. The forward platoons were ordered to hold on at all costs and Sergeant Colley went, without orders, to help these two platoons. He rallied the men, then formed a defensive flank and held it, although out of the two platoons only … Read the rest
James Hamilton Speirs MM (22 March 1886 – 20 August 1917) was a Scottish footballer who represented his country on one occasion, scored the winning goal in the 1911 FA Cup Final, and received the Military Medal during the First World War.
Speirs was born on 22 March 1886 in the Govan area of Glasgow, Scotland, the fifth of six children of James Hamilton Speirs and Janet Shields Speirs (née McLean). By 1901, the family had moved to nearby Govanhill and Jimmy worked as a clerk. It was in Govanhill that Speirs’ football ability was first shown, when he played in the junior football circuit on the black ash pitches of Glasgow, for Annandale, during summer tournaments.
An inside forward, Speirs moved to Maryhill in the Glasgow Junior League in 1905. Maryhill, whose Lochburn Park ground was five miles north of Speirs’ home, were among the top sides in the junior leagues, and lifted 13 trophies in eight seasons at the turn of the 20th century.
The 1904–05 team contained six junior internationals, and the side won three titles that season. Speirs’ first recorded scoring appearance was on 29 April 1905, when his … Read the rest
Harry Lord came from Royton, near Oldham, Lancashire, now a part of Greater Manchester, and saw service during the Great War as a Private (No.5179) with the 11th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, and was present out on the Western Front from 15th July 1915 where his battalion formed part of the 74th Brigade in the 25th Division.
Harry was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field in the London Gazette for 29th August 1918, this being earned for the operations around Mount Kemmel in the Ypres Salient in April 1918. Mention of his being awarded the Military Medal is detailed in the Battalion War Diary on 15th May 1918, and it is possibly for action on the 25th April 1918.
John William Lewis came from Swinton, Lancashire, now a part of Greater Manchester, and saw service during the Great War as a Private later Sergeant (No.15125) with the 19th Service Battalion – 3rd Salford Pals – the Pioneers, Lancashire Fusiliers, and was present out on the Western Front with his battalion as part of the 96th Brigade in the 32nd Division from 23rd November 1915, and then as part of the 14th Brigade in the same division from January 1916. His battalion formed GHQ troops and converted to a pioneer battalion in late July 1916, but then saw service with the 14th Brigade in the 49th West Riding Division from early August 1916.
John was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field in the London Gazette for 28th January 1918, this being an award for his services during the Third Battle of Ypres between 8th and 11th November 1917. A copy of the recommendation exists which reads: ‘Military Medal for 8th to 11th October 1917, for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He showed the greatest coolness and energy under heavy shellfire and by his skilful handling of … Read the rest