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Salute for St Helens' VC heroes of the trenches
TWO heroes from the First World War, who were awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery, will be commemorated by special paving stones set in their home town.
It follows a Government-backed initiative to mark the centenary of the conflict and those who were awarded the Victoria Cross.
John Molyneux and Norman Harvey were commended for showing outstanding bravery in the face of the enemy.
Born in 1890, John Molyneux lived on Manor Street.
As a sergeant in the Royal Fusiliers ‘Big Jack’, as he was more commonly known, organised a bombing attack to clear a trench of enemy soldiers in Belgium in 1917.
A number of soldiers were killed and a machine gun was captured.
Jack died at Ashtons Green nursing home in Parr in 1972 at the age of 81.
Newton historian Andrew Fackey provides the biography of the other St Helens soldier.
Norman Harvey was born in Bull Cottages, Newton-le-Willows in 1899. He enlisted in the South Lancashire regiment at the age of 15 and was injured at 16.
In 1918 he won the Victoria Cross after rushing two machine gun points single-handed, killing 20 men and capturing two guns.
After dark he carried out a solo mission to discover further information about the enemy position.
His sergeant said at the time: “He was doing awfully fine work all day and seemed to bear a charmed life, because he was running about under heavy machine gun fire all the time.”
At the end of the war he signed on to continue his military service.
By 1942 he was a Quartermaster Sergeant in the Royal Engineers and was killed in action in Haifa, which is now in Israel. He was buried in Khayat Beach cemetery.
It is planned to lay one of the stones next to the cenotaph in Victoria Square and the other at the war memorial in the centre of Newton next August.
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