Commemorative stone honour for Leeds soldier who earned Victoria Cross

Fred McNess's family at the ceremony. Picture by Simon Hulme
Fred McNess's family at the ceremony. Picture by Simon Hulme
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The immense courage of a Leeds soldier who earned a Victoria Cross for his actions during the Battle of the Somme was honoured yesterday.

Bramley-born Lance-Sergeant Fred McNess’s grandson Mick Morris unveiled the the Victoria Cross commemorative stone.

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves at the ceremony. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves at the ceremony. Picture by Simon Hulme.

It was 100 years to the day since he continued to fight in the First World War battle after being badly wounded.

Coun Caroline Gruen welcomed residents and dignitaries to the service at the war memorial in Bramley Park shortly after 2pm.

She said that the medal was “hard won through his extreme bravery, extraordinary determination and courage and unremitting physical resilience.”

On September 15 1916, he suffered injuries to his left arm and leg and extremely serious damage to his neck and jaw.

Despite losing blood he still sought reinforcements, guided them towards the enemy and continued fighting.

The ceremony was led by the Reverend Paul Crabb and attended by the Lord Mayor Gerry Harper, MP for 
Leeds West Rachel Reeves and around 11 of Lance-Sgt McNess’s family.

Scots Guards, Royal Artillery members and Royal British Legion standard bearers turned out as well.

Rachel Reeves MP said: “Bramley is very lucky to have such heroes from our community and I think it’s right we honour their service. You can see from the turnout that the human sacrifices are hugely appreciated 100 years on.”

McNess, of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards, survived the war and on December 9 1916, King George V presented him with the Victoria Cross.

His grandchildren Mr Morris, Christine Williams and Barbara Nelson said they were “overwhelmed” with how the ceremony was put on.

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