Victoria Cross Commemorative Flagstone
On Saturday 21st April 2018, the children of Churchtown Primary school were a part of something truly special!
Private Richard George Masters (30th March 1877 - 4 April 1963) was the recipient of the prestigious and most highly commended award for gallantry in the face of the enemy - the Victoria Cross. For many years, Churchtown children have been involved in the annual service commemorating the Southport war hero at his graveside, at St Cuthbert’s Church. This year marked 100 years and in honour of Private George Masters a commemorative flagstone was unveiled at the Southport War Memorial.
Also in attendance was Mr Paul Grice, the great, great nephew of Private Masters. He spoke fondly and admirably of his great, great uncle in a moving speech. Private Masters was a 41-year-old Private in the Royal Army Service Corps, British Army attd. 141st Field Ambulance. He was an ordinary, Southport man who did the extraordinary during the First World War. The following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross:
'On the 9th April 1918, near Bethune, France, owing to an attack, communications were cut off and the wounded could not be evacuated. The road was reportedly impassable, but Private Masters volunteered to try get through and after great difficulty succeeded, although he had to clear the roads of debris. He made journey after journey throughout the afternoon over a road which was being shelled and swept by machine-gun fire and once he was bombed by an aeroplane. The great number of wounded (approximately 200 men) were evacuated by him as his was the only car which got through.' (Extract taken from the Victoria Cross Commemorative Flagstone Order of Service programme, 2018)
Churchtown children played a special part in this poignant service, singing alongside the 156 Regiment Royal Logistics Corp band. They sang 2 special hymns, 'When a Knight Won His Spurs' and 'To Be a Pilgrim'. Each of which were sung beautifully and the children were honoured to be a part of this truly memorable and important service.