World War One Victoria Cross hero honoured
A commemorative paving stone is to be unveiled in memory of a war hero from Liverpool – a century to the day since he was killed in action during World War One.
It will be laid at Liverpool Parish Church in honour of Albert White (1892 – 1917), who was awarded the Victoria Cross after he died on 19 May 1917 whilst serving as a Sergeant with the South Wales Borderers, 2nd Battalion, D Company.
Albert White was born in Kirkdale and followed his father’s example by becoming a merchant seamen working as a coal trimmer.
When war broke out in August 1914, he enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was then transferred to the South Wales Borderers on 1 June 1915.
He was sent to Gallipoli where over the following nine months his Battalion lost almost 1,600 officers and men. Evacuated from Egypt, he was then posted to France where he survived the carnage of the opening day of the Battle of the Somme and many other battles.
The action for which he received the Victoria Cross took place at Monchy-le-Preux in France during the Battle of Arras on 19 May 1917. He was killed during this action aged just 25 and his medal was presented posthumously to his father by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 21 July 1917.
His citation in the London Gazette reads:
“For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. Realising during an attack that one of the enemy’s machine guns, which had previously been located, would probably hold up the whole advance of his Company, Sjt White, without the slightest hesitation, and regardless of all personal danger, dashed ahead of his Company to capture the gun. When within a few yards of the gun he fell riddled with bullets, having thus willingly sacrificed his life in order that he might secure the success of the operations and the welfare of his comrades.”
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 will be attended by Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Roz Gladden, veterans, serving soldiers and relatives of Albert White.
The Lord Mayor said:
“Albert White was a brave and fearless soldier whose selfless actions saved many lives.
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 centenary 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 soldiers weren’t lost.”
Albert is one of nine men from Liverpool who were awarded the Victoria Cross during World War One, and stones have already been laid in honour of Gabriel Coury, Ernest Alexander and David Jones.