A Buckley soldier posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross could be commemorated with a memorial plaque where he was born. Miner’s son Frederick Birks, born on Lane End in August 1894, was also awarded the Military Medal during the Battle of the Somme. Buckley mayor Jeanne Hutchinson, along with the town centre manager and the mayor’s consort have been in discussions with the owner of the property who is happy to allow a plaque on the wall. Birks left school at 14 and became a labourer and steel rollerman in nearby Shotton before emigrating to Australia in 1913. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery at Ypres, Belgium, on November 8, 1917, in the First World War – he single-handedly captured a machine-gun against 25 of enemy soldiers. Second Lieutenant Birks died a day later when was hit while trying to help comrades buried after the area was hit by a shell. The November 8, 1817, edition of the London Gazette read: “For most conspicuous bravery in attack when accompanied by only a corporal, he rushed a strong point which was holding up the advance. The corporal was wounded by a bomb, but 2nd Lt Birks went on by himself, killed the remainder of the enemy occupying the position, and captured a machine gun. “Shortly afterwards he organised a small party and attacked another strong point which was occupied by about 25 of the enemy, of whom many were killed and an officer and 15 men captured... By his wonderful coolness and personal bravery 2nd Lt. Birks kept his men in splendid spirits throughout.” A memorial was constructed at his old school in 1921, funded largely by locals. When the school was demolished the memorial was moved to outside St Matthew’s Church where it stands now. A portrait of Birks is on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra alongside his Victoria Cross. The cost of the plaque is estimated to be around £100 and the wording will be agreed by the town centre manager and Buckley mayor. Source: Flitshirechronicle Via: Forces War Records Blogs.
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