Plans to erect bronze bust to honour VC hero McFadzean

Artists impression of the bust of William McFadzean VC
Artists impression of the bust of William McFadzean VC

He was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross after being killed at the Somme and now plans are afoot to erect a bronze bust of war hero William McFadzean in his home town.

William Frederick “Billy” McFadzean VC was born in Lurgan in October 1895 and was a recipient of the VC, the highest award for bravery that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

A special committee has planned to erect a special bronze bust memorial in his honour to be erected in High Street.

McFadzean was a 20-year-old rifleman in the 14th Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles, British Army during the First World War.

On 1 July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme near Thiepval Wood, France, a box of hand grenades slipped into a crowded trench.

Two of the safety pins in the grenades were dislodged. McFadzean threw himself on top of the grenades, which exploded, killing him but injuring only one other.

The William McFadzean VC Commemoration Society was set up as a working group in 2017 by the Ancre Somme Association.

They have been working hard over the past year to organise a fitting memorial to the Lurgan-born soldier. A planning application has been submitted to Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council.

Lexi Davidson of the Ancre Somme Association said: “William’s story is one of the ultimate act of bravery.

“He sacrificed his life to save the lives of his fellow Irishmen.

“It was for that reason that the working group was established to ensure that his act of bravery is never forgotten.

“As we are also commemorating the end of the Great War this year this is part of our plans to remember all those from all faiths, and none, who left these shores and never returned.

The project will cost approximately £25,000 with the vast majority of that coming from donations from the public.

“We have commissioned the renowned Scottish artist, Helen Runciman, to produce 100 miniature busts that will help us meet our established target,” said Mr Davidson.

“It is our hope that it will be erected on Tuesday 9th October 2018.

“That was the day in 1895 that William was born, in High Street Lurgan, to the proud parents of William and Annie McFadzean.”