Service honours Bramley Victoria Cross hero Fred McNess


A public commemoration is planned at Bramley War Memorial to honour the memory of tragic Bramley war hero Fred McNess.

A commemorative stone will be unveiled and dedicated at the Memorial.

This is the second of seven commemorations over four years in Leeds for World War One Victoria Cross holders and the only one to take place in West Leeds.

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

‘Conspicuous bravery’

On 15 September 1916 near Ginchy, France, Lance-Sergeant McNess led his men with in the face of heavy shell and machine-gun fire.

When the first line of the enemy trenches was reached, it was found that the left flank was exposed and that the enemy were bombing down the trench.

McNess then organised and led a counter-attack and, although he was very severely wounded in the neck and jaw, did not give up.

Finally he established a “block” and continued encouraging his men and throwing bombs until exhausted by loss of blood.

He was awarded the VC for ‘most conspicuous bravery’.

But the severe nature of his wounds left Ness in lifelong pain, which eventually led him to take his own life in 1956 at the age of 64.

Serving and former members of the Scots Guards, standard bearers, piper and relatives of Fred McNess will attend the commemoration from across the United Kingdom.

Leeds Lord Mayor Cllr Gerry Harper, elected representatives and clergy are also attending the event, on Thursday, September 15 at 2pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

The stone itself is funded by the government/council and managed through Leeds City Council parks and countryside department.


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