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Commemoration for Frederick Birks

Published: 21/09/2018

A commemoration event was held recently for one of only two people from Flintshire who were awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War.

2nd Lt Frederick Birks, VC, MM, was born in Buckley on 16 August 1894.  Having emigrated to Australia in 1913, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1914.

He received the Victoria Cross for his actions on 20 September 1917, the day before he was killed by a shell as he tried to save his men.  While advancing in Glencorse Wood, Ypres, Belgium, Lt Birks, fought against machine gunfire and bombs, forcing a garrison to surrender and went on to capture 16 men in another attack.

The Victoria Cross is the highest and most prestigious award for bravery that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces, 628 Victoria Crosses were awarded during the First World War.

Flintshire County Council’s Armed Forces Ambassador, Councillor Andrew Dunbobbin, said:

“As one of only two people from Flintshire awarded the Victoria Cross during the Great War, this is a very special occasion to honour his bravery and provide a lasting legacy in the community.

“In this centenary year WW1, it is fitting and proper that we should honour all the people who sacrificed their lives and remember them forever.”

Buckley Town Council’s Mayor, Councillor David Ellis, said:

“Buckley Town Council is delighted and honoured to be able to have the Commemorative Stones laid in Coronation Gardens, Buckley and is also delighted that the Gardens will, at the same time, be dedicated as a Field in Trust”.

The first part of the commemoration took place at Coronation Gardens in Buckley with the Gardens being formally designated a Centenary Field, protecting the space in memory of all those who fought and lost their lives during the First World War.

Following a dedication of the Victoria Cross commemorative stones, guests were invited to Westwood Community School for a performance by pupils who had researched the life of Frederick Birks V.C, M.M. 

Finally, Frederick Birks’ memorial stone was blessed at St Mathew’s Church, Buckley.

The event, organised by the Flintshire County Council and Buckley Town Council, was attended by members and officers of both councils, Frederick Birks’ family, the Australian High Commission, Royal British Legion, Fields in Trust and Flintshire Armed Forces Steering Group.

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