Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Forgotten Hero' Is Deserving of Honour

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Forgotten Hero' Is Deserving of Honour

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Kelly Reporter mike.kelly@ncjmedia.co.uk

MEDAL collector Frank Hedley has called for a plaque in Newcastle to honour a local war hero who won the Victoria Cross at the legendary battle of Rorke's Drift. William Wilson Allen was in the 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot - later The South Wales Borderers - during the Anglo-Zulu war when his actions resulted in him being presented with the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy by Queen Victoria.

According to Frank, in the book of VC winners, Corporal Allen's place of birth is listed as Newcastle.

Yet his name was not included on a plaque which was unveiled recently by Newcastle City Council to honour winners of the prestigious medal who were born in the city.

The heroes named on it were Edward Lawson, John Aidan Liddell and Adam Herbert Wakenshaw.

Frank, 80, of Wallsend, said: "I thought the plaque to the other three VC winners was a tremendous thing but I think there's a name missing.

"I don't know if it's too late now but it would be good if William Wilson Allen were to be included on it or a new plaque put up in his honour.

"Bearing in mind the circumstances of how he won it and what he did, he really deserves it."

A Newcastle City Council spokesperson said "The three people that have been commemorated in the Victoria Cross memorial were all Newcastleborn - Edward Lawson in Blandford Street, John Aidan Liddell in Benwell Hall and Adam Wakenshaw in Duke Street.

"Considerable research was done in collaboration with the Armed Forces, Discovery Museum, the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association and the families of the three men that have been honoured.

"It has been speculated in the past that Corporal Allen's birthplace was Newcastle, but it is now believed that he was born in Northumberland. This consensus is reflected in various online sources on the Victoria Cross and a number of printed publications."

What isn't in doubt is Corporal Allen's heroism at Rorke's Drift in Natal, South Africa, on January 22 and 23 in 1879. …

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