Honouring ‘a true hero to us all’
Wednesday 20th August 2014 @ 09:30 by Mark Phillip
Mossley & Saddleworth

World War One hero Ernest Sykes was remembered at a unique and special ceremony last week.



A plaque was unveiled in memory of the railway man who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in action in 1917.

A sizeable crowd gathered at Mossley train station last Monday (11) morning to commemorate the hero.

Ernest, who was born in Mossley at Quick View in 1885, was educated locally at St George’s School in Stalybridge and worked as a platelayer for the London and North Western Railway Company at Micklehurst.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery and devotion to duty in Arras, France.

Attending Monday’s unique service were members of his family who live locally, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Mossley and also representatives from Northern Rail.

The service on the day started with some opening words of welcome and a prayer, led by the Rev Richard Cook.

He paid a touching tribute to the war hero which moved Ernest’s grandaughter Doris Whatmough to tears.

Speaking to the Reporter about the ceremony afterwards, Doris talked of the pride she had for her grandfather and also praised the ceremony. She said: “I’m so proud even to this day for what my grandad did for his fellow humans.

“To know he won the Victoria Cross and risked his life for the sick and wounded makes me, my family and those in the community immensely proud.”

Doris’ sentiments were echoed on the morning by other family members.

David Schofield and Shaun Lever were surprised at the number of people who attended.“The number of people here to celebrate today is testament to the courage and bravery Ernest displayed in battle,” they said.

Graeme Heron, a retired major in the British Army, also paid homage to Ernest’s bravery, describing the VC holder as ‘a true hero to us all.’

The ‘Last Post’ was played, followed by a two minute silence, bringing the ceremony to an emotional and reflective close.