All those from our region who served during the First World War showed extreme courage and some were singled out to receive distinguished honours.
One such hero, Lance Corporal Elesmere Alan Westbury, of New Tupton, Chesterfield, volunteered to fight with the Allies after Great Britain declared war on August 4, 1914, against German forces.
As part of this year’s 100th anniversary commemorations since the start of the Great War, The Derbyshire Times aims to highlight our soldiers’ heroism. Elesmere’s granddaughter and DT reader Pam Windley said: “Elesmere volunteered to fight for King and country and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal at the age of 18 for carrying messages under fire.
“He was fighting alongside brother Walter Ralph Westbury who unfortunately perished despite desperate attempts to dig them out by hand, along with others, when their trench collapsed.”
A newspaper cutting from the time explained Lce Cpl Elesmere Westbury, of the Gloucesters, received the DCM for conspicuous gallantry for carrying messages under heavy shell fire.
The article states: “Again and again he crossed a shell-swept zone and by so doing enabled touch to be kept with headquarters when telephone wires were broken and could not be repaired.”
A further cutting explained how Elesmere crossed the shell-swept zone four or five times a day.
Elesmere had previously been patrol leader of the Grassmoor Works Boy Scouts and received high praise from the Scouts’ Committee.
The DCM honour was a very high level award which has since been replaced by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
Those with First World War stories, pictures and artefacts can call Jon Cooper on 01246 504524 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with details.