Lancashire First World War hero honoured

HERO: Chorley VC winner Rifleman William Mariner
HERO: Chorley VC winner Rifleman William Mariner
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A Lancashire First World War hero will be honoured at a ceremony tomorrow.

Victoria Cross winner William Mariner is to be commemorated with a special paving stone, which is being installed in the grounds of a Chorley church.

It is only fitting that we pay tribute to him locally and it is a great honour for Chorley to have this commemorative stone.

Councillor Peter Wilson

It is part of a national scheme that will see all 628 VC recipients of the First World War commemorated with a paving stone in their place of birth.

Rifleman William Mariner was born in Wellington Street, Chorley, in 1882 and served in a number of battles until his death, fighting in a German trench, near Loos, on June 30, 1916, aged just 34.

He was awarded the VC, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy, that can be given to British and Commonwealth forces, in 1915, after he single-handedly attacked and destroyed a machine gun post on the battlefield of Cambrai.

Chorley Council has arranged for the paving stone to be installed in the grounds of St Laurence’s Church, Union Street.

There are very few traces of rifleman Mariner in and around Chorley.

However, a slate plaque was unveiled in his honour at St Laurence’s Old School, Parker Street, by Chorley Civic Society, in 2002.

Deputy leader of Chorley Council, councillor Peter Wilson, said: “It is only fitting that we pay tribute to him locally and it is a great honour for Chorley to have this commemorative stone.”

Brigadier Christopher Coles, commander of Preston-based 42nd Infantry Brigade and HQ North West, said: “His heroism and strength of character is shown not only by how he won his Victoria Cross, but also in the manner of his death while fighting in a German trench the following year.”