Manchester City Council

Victoria Cross hero to be honoured in Manchester

A commemorative paving stone is to be laid in Manchester to honour Jack White VC.

Jack, who was born in Leeds but lived in Manchester, was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for gallantry during an attempted crossing of the Dialah River in March 1917.

The paving stone will be laid at the Manchester Jewish Museum, where a public memorial service will be held at 11am on Sunday 7 May.

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Eddy Newman will provide a welcome at the service which will include an address by Rabbi Reuben Livingstone CF, Senior Jewish Chaplain to HM Forces.

In total, 628 Victoria Crosses were awarded in the First World War and commemorative paving stones are being laid to honour the bravery of its recipients.

The stones are being laid in the birthplaces of the VC recipients but as Jack grew up in Manchester, his family requested that his commemorative paving stone is placed in Manchester, a place he loved.

Deputy Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Eddy Newman, said: “The commemorative paving stone is a fitting tribute to a man who showed incredible courage and gallantry in performing his duty. It will provide an enduring legacy to enable residents to gain a greater understanding of the impact the First World War had on their community."

Jack White was born Jacob Weiss on 23 December 1896 in Leeds.

The family subsequently moved to the Hightown district of Manchester.

Jack enlisted in the 6th (Service) Battalion King’s Own at the outbreak of the First World War and served in the Middle East – at Gallipoli and in Mesopotamia (Iraq).

He was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry during an attempted crossing of the Dialah River by Captain S. Patterson and 60 men of the Battalion, in March 1917.

The VC citation of Private Jack White, Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, states: “For most conspicuous bravery and resource. This signaller during an attempt to cross a river saw the two pontoons ahead of him come under heavy machine gun fire, with disastrous results. When his own pontoon had reached mid-stream, with every man except himself either dead or wounded, finding that he was unable to control the pontoon, he jumped overboard, and towed it to the shore, thereby saving the Officer’s life and bringing to land the rifles and equipment of the other men on the boat, who were either dead or dying."

 

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