Today the third of five posts telling a brief story of a man with links to Sheffield and their experiences of the carnage of the First World War as we approach the 100th anniversary of its end.
Today, Arnold Loosemore, a VC winner who was treated shoddily by an ungrateful government.
Arnold was born in 1896 in Sharrow, Sheffield, the son of a gardener, one of 8 children. He worked on a farm in Fulwood after leaving school and he was working for a coal merchant when he enlisted in the York and Lancaster regiment in 1915 seeing active service at Suvla Bay in the Dardenelles and then was transferred to the Duke of Wellington’s regiment serving as a machine gunner. In 1917 he was at Langemark in Belgium and his unit was being held down by German machine gun fire. Arnold crawled through partially cut wire, dragging his Lewis gun with him and single-handed dealt with the German troops putting his and his comrades lives in danger. His Lewis gun was blown up by a bomb and he was rushed by some German soldiers who he dealt with using his revolver. He was injured by a sniper and on his way back to his lines he managed to drag an injured man back to safety – saving his life. For his actions he was awarded the Victoria Cross – the highest award for bravery in the face of the enemy this country can bestow.
In September 1918 he also won a distinguished conduct medal for bravery and leadership, again in Belgium.
A month later, less than a month before the end of the war he was badly wounded in both legs by machine gun fire. Ultimately, he had to have one of his legs amputated.
After the war Arnold returned to Sheffield and married in 1920. They had a son who was named after his father. Because of his war wounds he was unable to work properly when he did return home and they had a tough life making ends meet. He died of from tuberculosis in 1924 leaving his wife and young son. His wife was refused a war widows pension by the Government because they said she’d know about his injuries before she married him and at the time of the marriage he was no longer an active soldier. Almost destitute she could only afford a pauper’s funeral, burying him in a grave with three others to save money. What a way to treat a hero!
Loosemore Drive near Springs Academy is named after Arnold Loosemore VC. There is also a memorial to Arnold Loosemore and other VC winners from Sheffield around the Sheffield war memorial outside the City Hall.