Special anniversary unveiling for Northumberland Victoria Cross holder

A commemorative stone was unveiled at a ceremony at Widdrington Station to mark the 100th Anniversary of the awarding of the Victoria Cross to James Bulmer Johnson.

Local Councillor for Druridge Bay, Councillor Scott Dickinson opened the Memorial Garden with Northumberland’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Dave Ledger unveiling the VC Stone.

The ceremony was organised by Widdrington Station and Stobswood Parish Council and Northumberland County Council, marking the unveiling of the commemorative stone in recognition of the World War 1 Second Lieutenant. 

James Bulmer Johnson was born in Widdrington in 1889. When World War 1 began James enlisted on 13th October 1914, joining the Northumberland Fusiliers. The Victoria Cross was awarded to James after his bravery during the war, particularly during a counter-attack in France when, for six hours and under heavy fire, James held back the enemy and being ordered to retreat he helped his wounded comrades back to safety going back three times to do so.

The Parish Council was gifted the commemorative stone from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

The stone has been laid at the new memorial garden at Widdrington Station which was completed earlier this month, creating a place where the public can go to mark their respects to those who have lost their lives during battle. 

Work carried out from construction to supplies was completed by local tradesmen and plants were donated by Alnwick Castle. The garden received financial support by mean of donations from County Councillors Scott Dickinson and David Towns as part of the Small Schemes Budget. 

Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Dave Ledger, who unveiled the commemorative stone, said: “This is an excellent way to recognise and remember one of our local heroes. 

“We owe a debt of gratitude to people who put themselves in the most dangerous situations and who show such bravery as Lieutenant Johnson did. 

“I was deeply honoured to unveil this commemorative stone so that local residents can pay their respects and we must never forget those sacrifices given for our freedom.”

This is the third commemorative stone to be laid in Northumberland for soldiers who were awarded the Victoria Cross.

Click here to find out more about the work Northumberland County Council do to support armed forces.
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