First World War hero honoured in Jarrow

A First World War hero’s bravery was honoured when a lasting tribute was unveiled in his home town.

Victoria Cross winner Joseph Henry Collin from Jarrow was recognised at a special ceremony - marking the 100th anniversary of the 2nd Lieutenant’s actions - which won him the country’s highest battle honour war.

Captain Mark Armstrong from 'C' Company 4th Duke of Lancashire Regiment lays a wreath during the Service of Dedication of a Memorial to Second Lieutenant Joseph Henry Collin VC. Picture by FRANK REID

Captain Mark Armstrong from 'C' Company 4th Duke of Lancashire Regiment lays a wreath during the Service of Dedication of a Memorial to Second Lieutenant Joseph Henry Collin VC. Picture by FRANK REID

A Victoria Cross commemorative stone was unveiled at Joseph Collin House on North Street, Jarrow, in the presence of The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Olive Punchion, the Mayoress, Mrs Mary French, local councillors and members of the Armed Forces community.

Born in Jarrow in April 1893, 2nd Lieutenant Collin later moved to Carlisle and enlisted in the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.

He was killed in action the day before his 25th birthday on April 9, 1918, while serving in the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment at Orchard Keep, near Givenchy in France.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously after single handededly attacking a German machine gun post armed with just a revolver and grenade - killing and wounding the entire crew - while his men withdrew.

Seeing a second hostile machine gun firing, he then held the enemy at bay until he was mortally wounded.

The service in his honour included prayers of dedication and remembrance, the Last Post, a minute’s silence and Reveille, played by Durham Light Infantry buglers.

Wreaths were laid by the Mayor as well as Captain Mark Armstrong, of the Duke of Lancaster Regiment – a direct descendent of Lt Collin’s old regiment.

The commemorative stone is part of a national scheme that will see every First World War Victoria Cross recipient honoured with a paving stone in communities around the UK.

The memorial to Second Lieutenant Joseph Henry Collin VC. Picture by FRANK REID

The memorial to Second Lieutenant Joseph Henry Collin VC. Picture by FRANK REID

The Mayor said: “This new memorial in the town where he was born will not only recognise the gallant actions of 2nd Lt Collin and ensure his legacy lives on, but remind us all of the incredible bravery and sacrifices made by so many other members of the armed forces who fought for their country.”

Coun Ed Malcolm, Chairman of the South Tyneside Armed Forces Forum, said: “Joseph Henry Collin was an extremely courageous soldier who was completely devoted to duty, right to the very end when he held back the enemy to save the rest of his platoon.

“It is fitting that he is honoured with this commemorative ceremony and stone.”

WO2 Alan Crawford from the 101st (Northumbrian) Regiment Royal Artillery is presented with the Union Jack that covered the memorial stone by Mayor of South Tyneside Councillor Olive Punchion at the Service of Dedication of a Memorial to Second Lieutenant Joseph Henry Collin VC. Picture by FRANK REID

WO2 Alan Crawford from the 101st (Northumbrian) Regiment Royal Artillery is presented with the Union Jack that covered the memorial stone by Mayor of South Tyneside Councillor Olive Punchion at the Service of Dedication of a Memorial to Second Lieutenant Joseph Henry Collin VC. Picture by FRANK REID