BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008, 11:02 GMT
'Forgotten' VC heroes remembered
Sgt Samuel George Pearse and Captain Richard Wain
Both soldiers lost their lives through their gallantry in war
Two "forgotten" World War I heroes who both came from the same south Wales town and were both awarded the Victoria Cross are finally to be remembered.

Sgt Samuel Pearse and Capt Richard Wain were awarded Britain's highest gallantry medal for their actions in the conflict which claimed their lives.

But neither are included among the names on the war memorial in Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The town council is to honour them 90 years on with a special plaque.

Military historian Paul Kiley has carried out research into the stories of the two Penarth VC holders who are among only 20 from Wales - and 1355 in total - to receive the honour launched in 1856 by Queen Victoria.

Sgt Pearse died after WWI had ended in August 1919 when he was volunteering with the 45th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers at Emtsa in northern Russia.

Mr Kiley explained: "Samuel Pearse was born and bred in Penarth emigrated to Australia in 1911, was at Gallipoli, the Battle of the Somme.

The Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is Britain's highest award for gallantry

"He survived all that, he won the Military Medal, and then he was posted off to north Russia at the end of the war where he won his VC posthumously."

Capt Wain, meanwhile, was killed at Cambrai in France on 20 November 1917, while serving with the Royal Tank Corps.

"Richard Wain took on a German enemy position single handed after his tank was hit. His crew were killed, he was mortally wounded.

"Unfortunately, due to the devastation of the front, his body was never found, just like Sam Pearse."

A plaque honouring the two men will be unveiled in April.

Memories fading

Cllr Nigel Gibbs from the town council said they were "obviously very proud".

He said: "You've always got to remember that we have to learn from history, and that we need to commemorate these men because I think people's memories of the first war are fading.

Penarth already has a link to a Victoria Cross recipient.

Wing Commander Guy Gibson, leader of the Dambuster raid in WWII, married a local girl and lived in the town for a while.

Richard James from the Royal British Legion explained: "We've considered our only VC holder was Guy Gibson the Dambusters hero, who was a very famous man of course.

Wing Commander Guy Gibson
Guy Gibson, also a VC holder, has links to the town

"So it's come as a tremendous surprise and it's very very nice to know that we have heroes going further back."

Paul Kiley has had contacts with ex-service charities in Britian and Australia researching the story of Penarth's two VC holders.

He has also even spoke to Sam Pearse's daughter Victoria, whom the soldier who never met.

Now 88, she has just suffered a stroke but the family are delighted that the soldier will finally be remembered in Wales.

His grandson, Richard Christen, said: "Sam Pearse did get a Victoria Cross and I think it would be nice if the town of Penarth recognised that he was one of their sons."

SEE ALSO
Memorial service for Sir Tasker
01 Dec 07 |  South East Wales
Family remembers VC soldier's act
31 Jul 07 |  South West Wales

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific