D-Day hero honoured with special plaque

Westfield War Memorial Village.
Westfield War Memorial Village.

A special plaque was unveiled in Lancaster this week in honour of a D-Day survivor who now lives in Westfield Memorial Village.

Francis Joseph Bradshaw was just 17 when British troops stormed the beaches in Normandy, and his bravery at the historic event won him a Distinguished Service Medal.

He was honoured at a naming and unveiling ceremony in commemoration of World War One at an event at the estate off West Road this week.

Chair of the Guinness Partnership, Lady Amanda Ellingworth, residents, and staff of Guinness Northern Counties, which manages the homes in the village, were invited by the Trustees of Westfield Council for the naming of the homes on Haig Avenue and the unveiling of a special medal plaque in honour of Mr Bradshaw.

Vice-president of the Trustees Thomas Bowring opened the ceremony by unveiling a plaque and naming the eight homes on Haig Avenue after Lancastrians who had been awarded the highest military honour, the Victoria Cross, in WWI.

Lady Amanda then unveiled a second plaque, this time in honour of Mr Bradshaw, who received a Distinguished Service Medal for his service in the Royal Navy combined operations during WWII for his outstanding skill, endurance and devotion to duty shown in transporting men and supplies to the Normandy beaches on D Day.

Lady Amanda said at the event: “It was a great honour to be invited to attend the event at Westfield War Memorial Village and very humbling to hear the amazing stories of heroism as we commemorated the start of the Great War.

“I was delighted to unveil one of the plaques commemorating the Distinguished Service Medal awarded to Joe Bradshaw for acts of bravery on D Day when he was just 17. I was also delighted to meet the many people who attended, including the trustees of Westfield War Memorial Village and the residents.

“The Guinness Partnership is very proud of our long association with Westfield Village and extremely pleased to be part of the long term future of this truly inspirational place.”

Over 60 people attended the event including former evacuees who shared stories about the time they had spent at Westfield War Memorial Village as children and boards were set up inside the community room at Westfield House, displaying photographs of the village from years gone by.

Funded by public donation and subscription, Westfield War Memorial Village was opened in 1924 with the war memorial statue situated at the heart of the village being unveiled two years later in August 1926.

It commemorates all those who gave their lives or limbs for their country in the Great War, in particular the men of Lancaster, who served in the King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster).