Sgt Thomas Mottershead VC DCM unveiling update, March 2016.
The relatives and the committee of Tom's Statue Appeal Fund have had a long discussion about the date of the unveiling of his statue and have decided that 2nd June 2017 was inappropriate. This would be the Centenary of Tom's widow receiving his Victoria Cross from King George V.
On that day his widow, Peggy, his son, Sydney, and all his family would have been immensely proud to receive the Victoria Cross on Tom's behalf but it would have been a very sad day because it would have re-opened the feelings of the loss of Tom. Peggy would have had to put on a brave face all day, not showing any emotion as it wasn't the "done thing" in those days, especially in front of the King.
To unveil the statue on that date would have been "celebrating" Tom's death and not what he had achieved and done to be awarded the V.C. His statue isn't just about him; it's who he represents.
The decision is to have the unveiling on 1 April 2018 because this is the centenary of the day when the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air service combined to form the Royal Air Force and will foster remembrance of all those who died when serving in both the R.F.C.and R.N.A.
The new date of 1st April 2018 would fall in line with Todger Jones V.C. D.C.M. unveiling date (3rd August 2014), his statue was to mark the centenary of the start of WW1 and not his actions.
When the statue of Act. Lt. Thomas Wilkinson V.C. (WW2) is to be unveiled, it will not be on the anniversary of his actions that led to his paying the ultimate price, it will be a date to mark an important event yet to be defined.
The ethos of each statue is not about the individual, they each represent a group of people.
The three statues are not about just the individual, they each represent a group of people.
Todger Jones V.C. D.C.M. represents everyone who has served our country, irrespective of what they have or are doing, and where they come from. Only to be forgotten after discharge.
Thomas Mottershead V.C. D.C.M. will represent everyone who has and are willing to serve our country irrespective where they come from and what they have done or doing.
Thomas Wilkinson V.C. will represent all those who have knowingly gone into action or entering a situation that will cost them their life, whilst serving our Country, irrespective of where they come from.
This is the citation describing the action that earned Thomas Mottershead his Victoria Cross, an extract from the London Gazette dated 9th February 1917 records,
"For most conspicuous bravery, endurance and skill, when attacked at an altitude of 9,000 feet; the petrol tank was pierced and the machine set on fire. Enveloped in flames, which his observer Lt. Gower was unable to subdue, this very gallant soldier succeeded in bringing his aeroplane back to our lines and though he made a successful landing, the machine collapsed on touching the ground, pinning him beneath the wreckage from which he was subsequently rescued. Though suffering extreme torture from burns, Sergeant Mottershead showed the most conspicuous presence of mind in the careful selection of a landing place, and his wonderful endurance and fortitude undoubtedly saved the life of his Observer. He has since succumbed to his injuries."
Tom Mottershead's widow accepting his posthumous VC from King George V.
The Appeal Committee intends, through public donation and available grants to raise sufficient funds to commission and erect a statue in Victoria Park, Widnes to commemorate this gallant airman who was a native of Widnes.
Air Marshal Sir Roger Austin KCB AFC FRAeS RAF (Ret'd).
His award is unique as he was the only non-commissioned pilot to be awarded the Victoria Cross in the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force in the 1914-18 war. We are fully supported by the family of Thomas Mottershead and Halton Borough Council. Our Honorary Patron is Sir Roger Austin KCB AFC FRAeS RAF Ret'd, who as a junior pilot in the 1960s, was a member of No.20 Squadron Royal Air Force, that before 1 April 1918 had been No.20 Squadron Royal Flying Corps, the Squadron that Thomas Mottershead was a member of in 1917 flying in the skies over the Western Front when he earned his posthumous VC.
This statue isn't just about Thomas Mottershead VC DCM and his selfless act, which unfortunately cost him his life in saving another. It's to honour every man and woman who "joined up" in the Great War. It's a mark of gratitude for the courage and bravery that they have displayed in support of their nation.
Paul Wright Cmgr PG Dip, who is the open spaces Divisional Manager for Halton Borough Council and his team are going to design the area where the statue is to be sited.
As it states on all memorials
"Lest we forget".
How dare we forget?
Please wear your Poppy with Pride, wear it because you want to and not because you feel you should do. They gave their today for our tomorrow.