The Remembrance of Samuel Wassall
An adventure story in the Hotspur boys comic 16 years ago brought a
grand-daughter of the only Victoria Cross war hero to be buried in
Barrow back to her home town.
A Comic Strip Sparks Hunt for Hero Grandad
For the colour comic strip told the story of how Samuel Wassall VC
rescued a drowning comrade under enemy fire during the Zulu war in
And Mrs Hilda Wright believes her inquiries, sparked off by the
strip, enabled an invitation to the biggest gathering of the Wassall
clan for generations to reach her.
Mrs Wright, 58, from Warrington was one of 85 descendants of the war
hero who gathered round his grave in Barrow cemetary to take part in
a remarkable memorial ceremony.
Official recognition was conferred on Pte. Wassall 60 years after
his burial following the discovery by the Barrow Royal British
Legion branch of the grave - with no headstone.
The branch raised £200 to pay for the headstone - erected by Barrow
mason Mr Victor Grozan free of charge - and organised the ceremony
which was held at the graveside on Saturday.
Place of honour at the graveside was taken by Maj. Edward Green,
regimental secretary of the Staffordshire Regiment which is the
modern descendant of Pte. Wassall's Staffordshire Volunteers.
The service was conducted by British Legion padre the Rev. Bill
Hayward, a wreath was laid by branch president Mr. Derek Lyon and
Barrow major Coun. Mrs Irene Lucas attended.
After memorial prayers the
Last Post was sounded by L/C Robery Boyd of the Band
Detachment, who then played Reveille. Legion colours
were borne by branch standard bearer Mr Geoff
Also in attendance was
chairman of Barrow public amenities committee Coun.
George ???, whose committee unanimously voted to
tend the grave free of charge.
But most of all it was the
relatives day - all 83 of the representing five
Present were the oldest
grand-son, Mr. George Sutton, 78, West Row, Roose
and the oldest grand-daughter Minnie Crawford, 69,
from Be??erley Avenue, Barrow.
At the other end of the
scale were three-year-old Jill Balla??tyne and her
nine-week-old sister Michelle of Queen Street,
Barrow, the youngest great-great-granddaughters of
the war hero.
Many had not met for years
and family tales were swapped including the Hotspur
story. Mrs Wright said: "My son showed me the comic
and had Samuel's story in a st?? on back and front.
"I wrote off to his
regiment for more information and this is how they
knew where to find me. I now have the original of
that comic strip from 16 years ago."
< Back to Samuel's Page >