Sheffield will remember the last of its Victoria Cross recipients, whose acts of heroism saved hundreds of lives during the First World War, exactly 100 years to the day when he carried out his first acts of bravery.
A commemorative plaque will be laid in honour of Sergeant Arnold Loosemore at the cenotaph in Barker’s Pool on Friday 11 August 2017 at 12.30 pm. All are welcome to attend.
Sergeant Loosemore, who was in the 8th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment (Sheffield), was decorated for gallantry twice during the First World War.
His acts of heroism on 11 August 1917 saw him awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery and initiative in the face of the enemy, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
His platoon was under heavy machine gun fire when Arnold, then a private, crawled through partially cut wire, dragging his Lewis gun with him, and single-handedly dealt with a strong party of the enemy, killing about 20 of them.
Immediately afterwards his Lewis gun was blown up by a bomb, and three enemy rushed for him, but he shot them all with his revolver.
Later, he shot several enemy snipers, exposing himself to heavy fire each time. On returning to the original post he brought back a wounded comrade under heavy fire at the risk of his life. He displayed throughout an utter disregard of danger.
On 19 June 1918 at Zillebeke Belgium, the now Sergeant Arnold Loosemore’s continuing devotion to gallantry and duty were again recognised, this time for the award of a Distinguished Conduct Medal.
On 13 October 1918, just 23 days before Armistice, Arnold was badly wounded by machine gun fire in France with injuries needing the amputation of his left leg above the knee.
After the war Arnold return to Sheffield, married his childhood sweetheart Amy Morton and thad a son named Arnold. Following several years of ill-health and pain, Arnold died at home from tuberculosis in 1924 aged just 27.
Many of his surviving family will be in attendance on Friday.
Councillor Jack Scott, ward councillor for Arbourthorne, whose constituency covers Gleadless where Arnold Loosemore has a housing estate named after him, said: “This soldier was a true Sheffielder and war hero.
“He wasn’t especially well treated during his lifetime and we are delighted to be making amends in this way. I hope as many people as possible can attend during their lunch hour or with their own families to recognise a true Sheffield hero and mark his heroic contribution to our years of peace.”
The Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Cllr Anne Murphy, said: “We have recently marked the anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele and Friday’s service shows the importance of the gallantry displayed by so many Sheffielders in this terrible conflict.
“It will be an absolute honour to stand alongside his family to make a permanent memorial to his valour, in the city centre. I invite all citizens of Sheffield to join me in commemorating Sgt Loosemore, one of Sheffield’s bravest sons of the First World War.”