War hero’s plaque set to be replaced

The Sgt William Johnson memorial plague has been stolen from the Memorial Park in Worksop.
The Sgt William Johnson memorial plague has been stolen from the Memorial Park in Worksop.

A PLAQUE honouring the bravery of a Worksop war hero will be replaced after it was stolen last week.

The brass plaque, which honours Victoria Cross medal-winner William Henry Johnson, was fixed to a stone in Worksop Memorial Park.

The Sgt William Johnson memorial plague has been stolen from the Memorial Park in Worksop.  Pictured is Coun Glynn Gilfoyle and Worksop Branch Chairman Royal British Legion Brian Madden  (w120131-17b)

The Sgt William Johnson memorial plague has been stolen from the Memorial Park in Worksop. Pictured is Coun Glynn Gilfoyle and Worksop Branch Chairman Royal British Legion Brian Madden (w120131-17b)

Police believe the plaque, worth £10 in scrap value, was taken between 4pm on 19th January and 9am on Friday 20th January.

County councillor for Worksop East Glynn Gilfoyle said he was more than happy to stump up the cash to replace the plaque.

“Anyone who would stoop to the depths of stealing something like that for me, I think, its as bad as grave robbing,” he said.

“I would hope that they are caught and get a strong sentence for it. It’s disgusting.”

The Sgt William Johnson memorial plague has been stolen from the Memorial Park in Worksop  (w120131-17c)

The Sgt William Johnson memorial plague has been stolen from the Memorial Park in Worksop (w120131-17c)

“I cannot understand the mentality of some people.”

Sgt Johnson was born in Worksop on 15th October 1890.

A married man with three children, he enlisted in the Sherwood Foresters and served mainly in France.

On 3rd October 1918 at Ramicourt in France, he single-handedly charged a machine gun emplacement, capturing two machine guns.

A duplicate of the Victoria Cross awarded to Sgt William Henry Johnson (w120201-9a)

A duplicate of the Victoria Cross awarded to Sgt William Henry Johnson (w120201-9a)

Despite being severely wounded during the attack, he went on another solo run, silencing more enemy machine guns.

Worksop’s Royal British Legion secretary Brian Madden said the theft was ‘despicable’.

“I do not know how they have the cheek,” he said. “But it’s an unfortunate trend throughout the whole country. The people who’ve done this are lower than the low.”

“He was Worksop born and bred, who later was awarded with a Victoria Cross. That in itself has got to be remembered.”

A duplicate of the Victoria Cross awarded to Sgt William Henry Johnson (w120201-9b)

A duplicate of the Victoria Cross awarded to Sgt William Henry Johnson (w120201-9b)

Mr Madden added: “He is part of Worksop’s heritage and it’s important not to forget that.”

Sgt Johnson is one of ten Sherwood Foresters to be honoured in the Great War. He was presented with the Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 29th March 1919.

A year later he was awarded the French Medaille Militaire and founded the Worksop branch of the RBL in 1922.

He died in Arnold in April 1945 and is buried at Redhill cemetery.

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Sherwood Foresters Museum at Nottingham Castle. A duplicate is held at Bassetlaw Council offices on Potter Street.

There is also a picture of him in the new Worksop Library, on Memorial Avenue.

The cost of replacing the plaque is expected to cost up to £70. Coun Gilfoyle said he would use some of the money left in his EDI fund.