South Yorkshire hero killed 20 to save his platoon

Brave: Arnold Loosemore VC.
Brave: Arnold Loosemore VC.
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VICTORIA Cross hero Arnold Loosemore was a 21-year-old Private when he was awarded the honour for ‘most conspicuous bravery’.

He single-handedly killed more than 20 German soldiers to save his platoon.

The action took place in August 1917, to the south of Langemarck, near Ypres, Belgium, during an attack on a strongly-held German position when his platoon had been held up by heavy machine gun fire.

His citation read: “He crawled through partially-cut wire, dragging his Lewis gun with him, and single-handedly dealt with a strong party of the enemy, killing about 20 of them, and thus covering the position taken up by his platoon.

“Immediately afterwards, his Lewis gun was blown up by a bomb and three enemies rushed for him but he shot them all with his revolver.

“Later, he shot several enemy snipers, exposing himself to heavy fire each time.

“On returning to the original post, he also brought back a wounded comrade under heavy fire at the risk of his life. He displayed throughout an utter disregard of danger.”

Brinsworth-born Pte Loosemore, of the 8th Battalion West Riding Regiment - which became part of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment - later rose through the ranks to become a Sergeant.

He was presented with his VC by King George V in January 1918.

A month before the end of the war, he was badly wounded in both legs by machine gun fire and had to have his left leg amputated.

He returned to Sheffield and married a woman called Amy Morton in 1920, with whom he had a son, Douglas. The couple are believed to have lived in Stannington.

However, the effect of his wounds led to his early death at the age of 27, in 1924.

The Government refused to pay Amy a pension on the grounds Arnold was no longer a serving soldier when they married. He is buried in a shared grave at Ecclesall All Saints Church.

Sergeant James Firth, buried in Burngreave Cemetery. was awarded the VC in the Boer War, South Africa, in 1900.

He was honoured for rescuing two comrades under fire while he was wounded in the face. He was later a steelworks foreman and lived in Neepsend.

Sgt Firth died in June 1921.

Lieutenant George Lambert, of the 84th Regiment of Foot, which became part of the York and Lancaster Regiment, is buried in Wardsend Cemetery.

He was awarded the VC for action in July 1857 during the Indian Mutiny when, as a Sergeant Major, he led a bayonet charge against mutineers near Lucknow.

Lt Lambert, born in County Armagh, died in 1860 after collapsing on the parade ground at Hillsborough Barracks, Sheffield, aged 40.

His VC is on display at the York and Lancaster Regiment Museum, Rotherham.

1860 REPORT OF THE FUNERAL OF LIEUTENANT LAMBERT

“The funeral of Lieutenant and Adjutant Lambert, of the 84th Regiment, took place on Thursday, at the St Philip’s burial ground.

“The ceremony was conducted with military honours, the band of the regiment marching at the head of the procession, and playing the Dead March in Saul. Most of the deceased’s brother officers were present, and his charger was led after the body, bearing his master’s boots reversed.

“The usual volleys were fired over his grave at the conclusion of the service, and the procession then returned to the Barracks.

“Lieutenant Lambert was greatly respected by all who knew him, and his sudden decease is greatly lamented.

“His death was caused by the breaking of a blood vessel on Friday week, whilst on the parade ground of the Barracks.

“He had been somewhat unwell for several weeks, but not so seriously as to cause any apprehension, or to prevent him from fulfilling a part of his duties.

“He had risen from the ranks, having been in the service about 18 years, and had earned his honours in India.”