Road in Leigh to be named after World War One hero

This Is Lancashire: Private Alfred Wilkinson Private Alfred Wilkinson

HE was given the highest military award in honour of outstanding bravery showed during World War One.

Now a road will be named after Private Alfred Wilkinson, who was awarded the Victoria Cross during the conflict.

The Victoria Cross, or VC, is the highest military decoration awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy”.

Private Wilkinson, from Leigh, will be recognised with a road named in his honour on a new housing estate in Bickershaw.

The builders, Taylor Wimpey, and ward councillors have agreed the most prominent road on the estate should be called Wilkinson Park Drive.

There are plans to erect a tribute to Private Wilkinson on the estate.

He won the VC for the bravery he showed during the Battle of Selle in Marou in northern France in October, 1918.

He completed a daring mission across no man’s land. During the attack, four runners had been killed attempting to deliver a message to the supporting company.

Private Wilkinson volunteered to relay the message and succeeded in that task despite the journey involving exposure to extremely heavy machine-gun and shell fire for 600 yards.

Private Wilkinson, who served with the Manchester Regiment, later achieved the rank of lieutenant. He was born in Leigh in December, 1896.

He survived the trenches and returned to Leigh. Alfred married Grace Davies in 1932 and opened a sweet shop with his wife before going to work at Bickershaw Colliery.

At the outbreak of the World War Two, Alfred joined the home guard. He continued working at the colliery where he was killed in 1940 as a result of gas poisoning.

He was buried with full military honours in Leigh Borough Cemetery.

Fittingly, the road being named in his honour is located on the former Bickershaw Colliery site.

Leader of Wigan Council, Lord Peter Smith, who is also the ward member for the area, said: “I’m very pleased we are recognising the extraordinary bravery of Private Wilkinson by naming a road in his honour.

"This is a fitting tribute and will ensure that the name of Alfred Wilkinson and all he did for his country will be remembered for years to come.”

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