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News Report Page 15 of 18
Publication Date:- 2018-28-04
News reports located on this page = 2.

Centenary Commemorative Paving Stone for Private Richard George Masters VC unveiled

ON 21 April 2018, Southport Town Centre came to a standstill as a commemorative paving stone was unveiled for a local Victoria Cross (VC) recipient, Private Richard George Masters. 2018 marks 100 years since the end of The Great War, later known as World War 1, which ran from 1914 to 1918. Over that time only 628 The Victoria Cross (VC) were awarded to just 627 recipients for actions extreme bravery. Southport was 1 of only a handful of areas to have not 1, but 2 men, who became recipients of the Victoria Cross, over that time period, with 3 other recipients also coming from the Sefton area. Private Richard George Masters VC, who was born on 23 March 1877 in Birkdale, Southport, was destined to join the Royal Army Service Corps, during World War 1. Whilst serving in the Corps, attached 141st Field Ambulance, he was noted for an act of conspicuous bravery in Bethune, France, on 9 April 1918. On that day it was reported that Private Richard George Masters volunteered to try to get to a unit that had become cut off, owing to an enemy attack, and could not evacuate the wounded. His efforts and bravery led to approximately 200 men, a greater number of them wounded, being evacuated to safety. This act of bravery resulted in him being put forward and then receiving the highest award for gallantry that British and Commonwealth forces can receive for acts of extreme bravery, the Victoria Cross.

During times of war, despatches from the various conflicts, at that time, were published within a newspaper called:- 'The London Gazette.' His report on 8 May 1918, read:- "For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. Owing to an enemy attack, communications were cut off and wounded could not be evacuated. The road was reported impassable, but Private Masters volunteered to try to get through, and after the greatest difficulty succeeded, although he had to clear the road of all sorts of debris. He made journey after journey throughout the afternoon, over a road consistently shelled and swept by machinegun fire, and was on 1 occasion bombed by an aeroplane. The greater part of the wounded cleared from this area were evacuated by Private Masters, as his was the only car that got through during this particular time. His magnificent heroism, coupled with the skilful handling of his troops, were the most important factors leading to success."

Private Richard George Masters VC survived the war and returned to his home. He died aged 86, in April 1963, and is buried at St Cuthbert's Parish Church, Churchtown, Southport. His Victoria Cross is now on display at the Royal Logistic Corps Museum, in Camberley, Surrey.

Memorials like this here in Southport and all over the world, allow families to reconnect with their ancestors, so it was very fitting that family members of Private Richard George Masters VC were able to attend and take part in the unveiling of the Commemorative Paving Stone. Also taking part were members of the Royal Logistics Corps, based in Bootle, some children from St Cuthbert's Church, in Churchtown, Members of the Royal British Legion, the Town's MP, Damian Moore, along with other local and national Government representatives, The Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside and a representative of the French Army.

Did you know? As part of a Government First World War Centenary campaign, commemorative paving stones will be laid at the birth places of Victoria Cross (VC) of other recipients throughout the country and Commonwealth, as part of the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War 1. It is hoped that the stones will provide an enduring legacy of local heroes and enable residents to gain a greater understanding of the impact the war had on their community. Also, a Territorial Army Training Centre, in Bootle, was named after Private Masters. All 5 VCs who were born within the Borough of Sefton and commemorative VC will receive paving stones by the end of 2018. Also, did you know that Southport's War Memorial, known locally as the 'Monument,' was erected to mark those who had lost lives from the area, during World War 1 and ever since has been used to record those who fought and lost their lives in the future conflicts, including World War 2 and subsequent skirmishes, including the Gulf War.

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