Plaque unveiled honouring brave Sheffield Victoria Cross soldier

Ceremony at Barkers Pool in Sheffield to unveil a plaque in honour of Sergeant�'Major John Crawshaw Raynes, who earned his Victoria Cross for bravery and devotion to duty in World War 1 on 11-12 October 1915.'Picture Dean Atkins
Ceremony at Barkers Pool in Sheffield to unveil a plaque in honour of Sergeant�'Major John Crawshaw Raynes, who earned his Victoria Cross for bravery and devotion to duty in World War 1 on 11-12 October 1915.'Picture Dean Atkins
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A World War One hero who earned the Victoria Cross exactly 100 years ago has been remembered in Sheffield.

A plaque was unveiled at the Cenotaph at Barker’s Pool yesterday in honour of Sergeant, later Sergeant Major John Crawshaw Raynes, who saved the lives of several men in his battery.

The ceremony was part of a government scheme to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Victoria Cross medals awarded during World War One.

On October 11, 1915, Sgt Crawshaw Raynes’ battery was heavily bombarded by shells.

He risked his own life to help a wounded comrade, Sgt Ayres, by running through intense gunfire to rescue him from where he was lying 40 yards away.

He bandaged him up and returned to his gun but later carried Sgt Ayres into a dug-out.

When a gas shell burst at the mouth of the dug-out, Sgt Crawshaw Raynes once more ran through the line of enemy fire, got his own smoke helmet, put it on Sgt Ayres, and then, himself badly gased, staggered back to his gun.

However, his bravery did not end there.

The next day he was buried under rubble after a house was knocked down by a shell and, although he had injuries to his head and legs, he refused to leave because he wanted to help rescue four more men.

After his wounds were dressed, he immediately went back into battle.

He was presented with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace after the war.

Sheffield’s Lord Mayor, Coun Talib Hussain said: “It was incredibly moving to hear about the heroism of this Sheffield man, who risked his life for others in circumstances that very few of us will ever have to endure.

“It is fitting we honour the bravery and dedication of John Crawshaw Raynes.”

Passer-by Glyn Parking, aged 65, from Deepcar who had paused to watch the ceremony, said: “Things like this should be remembered and I am pleased I got to be a part of it.”

The Bishop of Sheffield, Rt Rev Dr Steven Croft, gave a dedication and representatives from the Royal Artillery, Royal British Legion and local schools attended to pay their respects.

A wreath was laid on John’s grave at Harehills Cemetery in Leeds at the same time as the ceremony in Sheffield yesterday.