WILLIAM THOMAS FORSHAW
1890 – 1943
Recipient of the Victoria Cross, buried in Touchen End cemetery
William Thomas Forshaw was born in Barrow-in-Furness, and was a teacher at the Manchester Grammar School.
He was a lieutenant in the Manchester Regiment during the First World War. He served in Gallipoli, where he was awarded the Victoria Cross, the most prestigious medal that can be awarded by the British Army, for his role in defending ‘The Vineyard’ from enemy attack. He gained the nickname ‘The Cigarette VC’, as he lit the fuses of the bombs he threw with a cigarette, mounting a defence that lasted over 40 hours. Later, when the trench was captured by Turkish troops, he was instrumental in recapturing it.
He later attained the rank of Major, and retired from the army in 1922. On leaving the army took up a new career as a photographer.
Forshaw died in 1943, at his home in Holyport, and was buried in an unmarked grave in Touchen End cemetery. Its’ location was unknown for years, but was tracked down due to the efforts of Tom Medcraft, Victoria Cross historian, and Pat Curtis, Librarian at Maidenhead Library. A ceremony was held at the cemetery in 1994 and a new headstone erected by the Kings Regiment (Manchester and Liverpool), which had been formed from the Manchester Regiment.
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