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Durham Advertiser, 20 July 1917

Welcome to Craghead VC: Private Heaviside, a native of Durham


Special local interest attaches to the “welcome home” accorded to Pte Michael Heaviside, VC, DLI, at Craghead, on Thursday, the 12th inst., in the fact that he is a native of Durham City. The welcome was most enthusiastic, and the occasion was made one of great rejoicing in the colliery village, where the brave soldier worked prior to the outbreak of the war.

The deed for which Pte Heaviside was awarded the coveted VC was one of sublime heroism in the face of almost certain death. Scorning machine gun fire and snipers alike, Heaviside, who is a stretcher bearer, approached to within 40 yards of the enemy’s line to succour a stricken comrade who, badly wounded and nearly demented with thirst, had lain out for four days and three nights, and subsequently, with the help of two others, brought the wounded man into safety.

A huge crowd mustered at Shield Row Station to meet the 6.13 train on which Heaviside arrived from Newcastle; among those present being his father and mother. The procession, headed by the South Moor Colliery Band, the local corps of the Durham Volunteers, and the South Moor Church Lads’ Brigade, included the banners of the Craghead Miners’ Lodge and the Stanley Nobblers. Pte Heaviside, in a motor car with one of his children, was cheered all along the crowded, beflagged streets. The first halt was made at Stanley Council Chamber, where he was officially welcomed by Coun Patrick Duffy and Coun Daniel Dodd (chairman and vice-chairman respectively of Stanley Council). Passing through Oxhill and South Moor, Craghead was reached at 7.45, and after a tour of the village amid scenes of much enthusiasm, a move was made to the football field. The welcome of the people was voiced by the Chairman of the Reception Committee (Mr William Ord) and by Mr Henry Greener, its hon secretary, supported by Capt Saunders, of Gateshead, Adjutant of the Durham Volunteers. The children having sung patriotic songs, Mr Kuhlman moved a comprehensive vote of thanks,which was seconded by the Rev J B Eddon (vicar of Craghead), and carried by acclamation.

Pte Heaviside, who is 36 years of age, formerly lived at Sacriston, where his father is still head keeker [inspector] at the colliery. After serving in the RAMC through the Boer War, he returned, as a reservist, to the pits at Burnhope, where he met the lass who became his wife and mother of his eight children – one, bye the bye, born but a few weeks since. He was recalled to the colours shortly after the outbreak of hostilities, in Sept 1914. At Ypres he received a shrapnel wound. Returning to the front, he was in the battles of Loos and on the Somme.

Date: 1917-Jul-20

Reference: D/WP 1/78 (M1/64): Durham Advertiser, Friday 20 July 1917, page 3

Where to find this: Durham County Record Office

Contributed by Durham County Record Office

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