A busy day was had cleaning the memorial to William Coltman VC, DCM and bar MM and bar - the most highly decorated 'other rank' in WW1. His grave in St Mark's churchyard Winshill in Burton on Trent was in excellent condition with only weeding and a change of stone dressings required following a wipe down. There is also the memorial in the town centre to William, along with a plinth near to the bandstand in the nearby park to commemorate this undoubtedly dedicated soldier. We had spoken to the local town council to gain permissions to clean the Coltman memorial and offered to also clean the amazing war memorial itself adjacent to the plinth. The Victoria Cross Trust also has a special statue dedicated to William in our shop in Doncaster and is available for all to see. The photographs tell the story and the citation below describes his exploits leading to his awards for valour on numerous occasions.
Lance Corporal WILLIAM COLTMAN MANNEQUIN HILL, SEQUEHART, France 3/4 October 1918 He was 26 years old and serving in the 1/6th Bn, North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s) as a stretcher-bearer. When he heard that some wounded men had been left behind, he went forward alone in the face of heavy enfilading fire, found the men, dressed their wounds and made three successive journeys carrying them on his back to safety. He tended the wounded unceasingly for 48 hours. Coltman was the most highly decorated NCO of the war, being awarded the VC, the DCM and Bar, and the MM and Bar. He was one of 74 VC holders who formed the honour guard at the interment of the Unknown Soldier at Westminster Abbey on 11 November 1920. He died on 29 June 1974.
Brazier, Kevin. The Complete Victoria Cross : A Full Chronological Record of All Holders of Britain's Highest Award for Gallantry . Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.
Thank you to Ian Bradley for his energy to get this project going and to Michael Hovers for organising the necessary permits to complete the work.