Preston Victoria Cross hero to have plaque at the Cenotaph

Posted on - 2nd October, 2018 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Broughton, City Centre, Preston News, Roads, Transport, What's On in Preston
The plaque to be installed in the Flag Market
The plaque to be installed in the Flag Market

A Victoria Cross awarded soldier who now has a road named after him in the city is to be honoured.


Preston City Council has announced Private James Towers is to have a lasting memory to him at the Cenotaph on the Flag Market.

The Broughton soldier led some of his trapped company back to safety in October 1918.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery, the highest military award for gallantry.

Last year the new Broughton Bypass was renamed as James Towers Way in recognition of his home village.

Read more: There’s a second bus lane coming to Broughton

The city council is to lay the plaque on the Flag Market on Saturday 6 October and the public are welcome to attend.

Mayor of Preston councillor Trevor Hart said: “It’s a great privilege to be involved in this ceremony honouring the bravery of James Towers, a Preston born hero.

“Acknowledging the service and actions of James is important to recognise, particularly at this one hundred year anniversary. The Towers family are understandably very proud and this plaque will help Prestonians of every generation to recognise James’ brave efforts in saving his friends and fellow soldiers.”

The service at 11.30am will see the Last Post played, a citation read by the Mayor and a reading from the Vicar of Preston Rev Michael Everitt. The ceremony ends with the national anthem.

Read more: Broughton referendum on its future to take place

In August 2013 the government announced a campaign to honour all Victoria Cross recipients from the First World War by laying commemorative paving stones in their birth places.

Why James Towers has a Victoria Cross

The Broughton bypass and Private James Towers Pic: Preston Digital Archive
The Broughton bypass and Private James Towers Pic: Preston Digital Archive

By the final offensives of 1918 Towers had become a seasoned veteran. During 6 October 1918 orders came through for the village of Mericourt to be evacuated.

Volunteer runners were called upon to send the order to around 30 men that had become surrounded by the Germans.

Five volunteers came forward and each were killed by enemy fire. Private James Towers stepped up as the sixth runner.

He reached the trapped company and dug in with the remaining soldiers overnight.

Read more: Poppies lining the Broughton Bypass are fitting tribute to James Towers

The following morning he led the company back through the mist to relative safety, recovering numerous fallen comrades along the way.

Upon his bravery, Private Towers said: ““I had to go to the help of these lads. After all, they were my pals.”

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