Paving stone laid to remember Worksop’s Victoria Cross hero

Paving stone laid to remember Worksop’s Victoria Cross hero

The 100th Anniversary of Sergeant William Henry Johnson being awarded the Victoria Cross will be marked with the laying of a commemorative paving stone in Worksop’s Memorial Gardens.

Over a four-year period, 469 commemoration paving stones will be laid in or as close to the birth place of Victoria Cross recipients on the 100th anniversary of their acts of valour, which led to their commendation.

The paving stone for Sergeant Johnson will be unveiled by members of his family in Worksop’s Memorial Gardens at 1pm on Wednesday 3rd October.

Sgt. Johnson, affectionately known as Bill, was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military honour, for his act of bravery by attacking the ‘Hindenburg Line’ at Ramicourt, north east France on 3rd October 1918.

When his platoon was held up by a nest of machine guns, Sgt. Johnson single handedly attacked the first nest of guns and, despite being seriously wounded, then went on to attack and capture a pillbox.

Cllr David Challinor, Chairman of Bassetlaw District Council, said: “The stone laid to honour Sgt. Johnson provides a lasting legacy to his bravery and will enable Worksop residents to gain a greater understanding of how a local hero played a key role in the history of the First World War.”

Philip Davis, grandson of Bill Johnson, said: “The relatives of Bill are extremely proud that a local man has been so honoured.”

For the first time in living memory, Sgt. Johnson’s original Victoria Cross will be displayed at Worksop Library between 12noon and 2pm as part of an exhibition about his life and other local men’s sacrifice during the First World War.

Before the war Sgt. Johnson had worked at Manton Pit and was a member of the Priory Church and a keen bell ringer. As part of the day of celebration, the National Bell Ringing Society will also perform a special peal of bells from the Priory Church between 10am and 1pm and at St Anne’s Church from 3:30pm to 6:30pm.

The unveiling ceremony will be led by the relatives of Sgt. Johnson, the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, the Chairman of Bassetlaw District Council and Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council. The Mercian Regiment will be represented together with Corporal Derby the Regimental Ram.

Local authorities across the country have been invited to participate in this campaign run by the Department for Communities and Local Government to honour all Victoria Cross recipients.

Last Updated on Wednesday, January 16, 2019