THE heroic deeds of one of Winsford's most famous sons are being commemorated during a day of special events on Friday.

Sergeant James Clarke of the Lancashire Fusiliers was honoured with the Victoria Cross for acts of gallantry as the First World War came to an end from November 2 to 4, 1918.

During an attack on Happegarbes near the French-Belgian border, the 24-year-old captured a number of machine gunners and took many prisoners – all whilst leading a platoon which came under under heavy fire.

A day of commemorative events takes place on Friday, November 2, including the laying of a special paving stone, a service of remembrance, the naming of a street in his honour and the unveiling of two memorial benches.

A detailed timetable of the events is being delivered to the home of every Winsford resident. It is hoped as many people as possible will attend.

James Clarke was born in Winsford in 1894 – the second son of John and Hannah Clarke.

He left St John’s School on Delamere Street and worked as a labourer before moving to Rochdale at the age of 19 in 1913.

In 1915, aged 21, James Clarke enlisted into the Lancashire Fusiliers and was posted to the Western Front, where he rose to the rank of acting regimental sergeant major.

He was presented with the Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on February 13, 1919.

James Clarke died on June 16, 1947 and was buried with military honours in Rochdale Cemetery.

Now – exactly 100 years after he performed the deeds which won him the Victoria Cross – Winsford Town Council, in conjunction with a range of partner organisations and residents, has organised a number of commemorative events in honour of James Clarke and the 247 Winsford men who lost their lives in the First World War.

Town mayor Cllr Gina Lewis said “James Clarke is a central part of the history of Winsford and his gallant deeds and bravery encompass the bravery shown by all the sons of Winsford who went off to fight in World War One – many of whom never came home”.

“Sgt Clarke was born in Winsford during the 1890s and went to school in what was then known as Over before moving to Rochdale at the end of his teenage years.”

“We are delighted to be able to remember him and what he did."

The paving stone, supplied by the Department of Communities and Local Government, commemorates James Clarke and the awarding of the VC. Representatives of the Lancashire Fusiliers will be present.

A number of relatives of James Clarke will be attending the events on Friday, including his grand-daughter and her family, who now live on the Isle of Man.

A street on the new Oakmere development will be named James Clarke Road in Winsford, thanks to the co-operation of Taylor Wimpey.

Two memorial benches, complete with the There But Not There silhouettes, have been provided by the Royal British Legion.

Cllr Lewis added: “We hope that as many people as possible will be able to come to Winsford on the day – we are so pleased that a number of members of Sgt Clarke’s family will be there to join us in remembering this remarkable man."