On Friday 9 October 2009, we were visited by soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, to support the handover of a rare and historical item to add to the new Museum of Liverpool’s collection.
The object is a Victoria Cross (VC), and although it has been looked after by National Museums Liverpool for some time on loan, it has now been donated to our permanent collections to go on display in the new museum when it opens in 2011.
The Victoria Cross is the highest order of military decoration awarded to the armed forces for gallantry and bravery in the face of the enemy. It was presented to Sergeant David Jones of the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment on 3 September 1916, for an act of bravery he performed while serving in WWI at Guillemont, France.
This is how the London Gazette described his act at the time:
“For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty, and ability displayed in the handling of his platoon. The platoon to which he belonged was ordered to a forward position, and during the advance came under heavy machine gun fire, the officer being killed and the platoon suffering heavy losses Serjt. Jones led-forward the remainder, occupied the position, and held it for two days and two nights without food or water, until relieved. On the second day he drove back three counter-attacks, inflicting heavy losses. His coolness was most praiseworthy. It was due entirely to his resource and example that his men retained confidence and held their post.”
Then aged 25, Sgt David Jones was sadly killed in action at Bancourt in the Somme just over a month later on 7 October 1916, and his family later presented the VC to Jones’s former employer J Blake & Co Motor Company, who have now donated the medal to National Museums Liverpool’s permanent collections.
Trustee of J Blake & Co, Mr Norman Silk visited the museum along with representatives of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, to present curator of social history Karen O’Rourke with the medal on-site.
All those who attended the handover were also treated to a tour of the new museum by buildings operations manager Martin Hemmings, specifically to look at the museum's City Soldiers gallery which will focus on the long history of the King’s Regiment and its relationship with the city.