Belfast Telegraph

Plans for statue of VC hero William McFadzean in Lurgan

By Ali Gordon

An Ulster war hero is to be permanently honoured in his home town.

Private William McFadzean was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross - the UK's highest decoration for gallantry - during World War One.

Funds are being raised for a bronze sculpture of him to be erected at High Street in Lurgan.

Lexi Davidson, secretary of the William McFadzean VC Commemoration Society, said it was fitting that his courage should be marked.

"Thousands of men died during World War One and we are very proud of what they did for this country, but how William died can be seen as a lesson for us all," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"If young people found themselves in the same position as William was in today, would they even think of doing what he did? I'm not sure they would.

"I'm not sure there are many people who would ever show the courage he did. It was the ultimate act of bravery to try and save his friends."

On July 1, 1916, the Co Armagh man and his bombing team were preparing for an attack in the assembly trenches close to the front line at Thiepval Wood.

Some grenades became separated from their safety pins before falling into the crowded assembly trench.

Heroic Pte McFadzean saved the lives of his colleagues by throwing himself on top of the grenades.

He was killed instantly, but his friends survived the blast.

"The William McFadzean VC Commemoration Society was set up about a year ago and it's made up of national, regional and local politicians, as well as members of The Friends of Brownlow House, the Ancre Somme Association and members of the community who share our belief in the importance of remembrance," explained Mr Davidson.

A sportsman's dinner will be held on March 16 in Craigavon Civic and Conference Centre with special guests including former Rangers and England footballer Mark Hateley, former Northern Ireland player Keith Gillespie and pundit Liam Beckett.

"We've set ourselves a target of £25,000 for the project and we're confident that we will raise it," added Mr Davidson "It's very achievable, so hopefully we'll achieve it with no problem.

"Our association focuses on education and remembrance - they are our core aims - and there's no one in our association that is trying to glorify war, but we do believe that the sacrifices that have been made should be remembered."

Belfast Telegraph

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