A FIRST World War hero whose bravery was immortalised in a comic strip is being honoured in his home town today.

Winsford born Sergeant James Clarke serving with the Lancashire Fusiliers on the Western Front received the Victoria Cross for acts of gallantry as the First World War came to an end on November 2, 1918.

The 24-year-old led a platoon braving heavy gunfire to take a heavily defended ridge.

With incredible grit and determination he captured many machine gun posts and prisoners.

His courageous feat was featured in a comic strip in the popular Victor magazine in 1976.

Today, exactly 100 years since his gallant efforts, a day of commemorative events are being held.

A special paving stone will be laid, a street is being named in his honour, two memorial benches will be unveiled and civic dignitaries and war veterans will join his relatives and residents at a service of remembrance.

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."

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.

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.

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.

Relatives of James Clarke will be attending the events today, 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."

Timetable of events

10.30am Gathering at Wyvern House

10.55am Unveiling of commemorative stone beside Winsford Lifestyle Centre

11am Service of remembrance

11.45am Unveiling of new VC street sign on James Clarke Road, Over

12.15pm Unveiling of silhouettes at Guildhall

12.30pm Unveiling of memorial benches