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Private William Short VC

William Short was born in Eston in 1884. He was a keen footballer and worked in the Bolckow, Vaughan & Co Steelworks in Eston. He was known to his family as ‘Will’ and to his friends as ‘Twiggy’ as he was often seen walking around with a twig in his mouth. Like thousands of his fellow Teessiders, William Short joined the army to fight in World War I. He was killed at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 at the age of 31.

Private William Short VC

William Short was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest medal awarded for bravery. The official citation for his Victoria Cross reads:

‘For most conspicuous bravery at Munster Alley in the 6th August 1916. He was foremost in the attack, bombing the enemy with great gallantry, when he was severely wounded in the foot. He was urged to go back, but refused and continued to throw bombs. Later his leg was shattered by a shell and he was unable to stand, so that he lay in the trench adjusting detonators and straightening the pins of bombs for his comrades.

He died before he could be carried out of the trench. For the last eleven months he had always volunteered for dangerous enterprises, and had always set a magnificent example of bravery and devotion to duty.’ His name is recorded on the Grangetown war memorial and on the obelisk in Eston Cemetery.

Private Short’s fellow Teessiders Tom Dresser, Stan Hollis and Edward (Ned) Cooper were also awarded the Victoria Cross.

Image courtesy of Redcar and Cleveland Council Cultural Service