Time is right for salute to hero Leeds soldier

Coun Catherine Dobson.
Coun Catherine Dobson.
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He has gone down in military history as the first person from Leeds to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

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Private John Pearson.

Private John Pearson.

Now a city councillor is calling for the remarkable life of 19th century soldier Private John Pearson to be recognised with a new tribute in his birthplace of Seacroft.

Pte Pearson is commemorated along with other Leeds-born winners of the VC on a plaque close to the war memorial in Victoria Gardens in the city centre.

He also recently had three streets named after him in Seacroft – Pearsons Court, Pearsons Close and Pearsons View.

But Coun Catherine Dobson (Lab, Killingbeck and Seacroft) believes more should be done to honour the courage he showed in the service of his country.

She told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It’s nice that the road signs are there but I feel there should also be some kind of permanent memorial to Pte Pearson in Seacroft.

“I’m pursuing ideas on what form it could take but he had an amazing life and it would be good to commemorate that.”

Pte Pearson was born on January 19, 1825, and after working as a gardener he enlisted into the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars in Leeds at the age of 18.

He was awarded the VC for gallantry during an assault on a rebel position at Gwalior during the Indian Mutiny.

Pte Pearson and three other soldiers charged into the enemy camp in June 1858 and captured two guns while under heavy fire.

In all, he served 24 years in the Army – 12 of them abroad – and also fought in the Crimean War.

In the 1880s he and his family settled in Canada. He died in Ontario in 1892, aged 67.

Anyone with suggestions for the memorial or who can help pin down exactly where Pte Pearson was born in Seacroft is asked to e-mail Coun Dobson at catherine.dobson@leeds.gov.uk.

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