Ilkley World War One hero honoured for Victoria Cross

Article dated Wednesday May 31, 2017 at 04:55 PM

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An Ilkley World War One hero is to be honoured at a ceremony commemorating him being awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious military decoration, which is awarded for valour in the face of the enemy.

The ceremony which marks the installation of a stone at the Memorial Gardens, The Grove Ilkley, takes place on Sunday, 4 June exactly 100 years to the day that 19 year old Second Lieutenant Thomas Harold Broadbent Maufe was awarded the Victoria Cross for an outstanding act of bravery.

His citation for the medal says: “For most conspicuous bravery and initiative. Under intense artillery fire this officer on his own initiative repaired, unaided, the telephone line between the forward and rear positions, thereby enabling his battery to immediately open fire on the enemy.

“Second Lieutenant Maufe further saved what might have proved a most disastrous occurrence by extinguishing a fire in an advanced ammunition dump, caused by a heavy explosion, regardless of the risk he ran from the effects of gas shells which he knew were in the dump.

“By his great promptitude, resource and entire disregard of his own personal safety, he set an exceptionally fine example to all ranks."

As part of the government initiative to honour and recognise the winners of the Victoria Cross in the First World War, commemorative paving stones are being installed in the recipients’ home towns across the UK as part of the national WW1 centenary events.

The stone for Second Lieutenant Broadbent Maufe is the final of three stones laid in the Bradford district to commemorate the actions of Victoria Cross recipients from the district. Each stone has been laid on the 100th anniversary of the action for which the Victoria Cross was awarded.

Second Lieutenant Maufe served with 124th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery on the Western Front in France. He was positioned at Feuchy, at the centre of the Battle of Arras, on 4 June 1917 when he carried out the brave acts.

Known to his family as Harold, Second Lieutenant Maufe was born in Ilkley on 6 May 1898 (the family name changing to Maufe in 1909), a son of the Chairman of Brown, Muff and Co. Limited. He was educated at Ghyll Royd School in Ilkley before attending Uppingham School, then the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich.

Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery on the 10 May 1916 and progressed to become one of the youngest Acting-Majors in the Army. After the war he read engineering at Clare College, Cambridge, then attended the Royal School of Mines, subsequently working in the mining and smelting of tin in Cornwall and London.

He returned to Ilkley in 1929 and joined the family firm, married a local girl, and in due course became director and secretary of Brown, Muff and Co. Limited.

During World War Two, whilst he was serving as Private Maufe in the Otley Battalion of the West Riding Home Guard, he was killed when a trench mortar accidentally misfired during a routine training exercise on Blubberhouses Moor on the 28 March 1942.

He is buried in Ilkley Cemetery, and has memorials there and at Uppingham School, Manor Farm on Blubberhouses Moor and in the Bradford Cenotaph gardens.

A civic event will take place at 11am on 4 June 2017 at the Memorial Gardens in Ilkley. The service will be conducted by Father Paul Wheelhouse of St Margaret’s Church in Ilkley, supported by the Lord Mayor’s Chaplain, Mufti Khurshid Alam Sabir and will be attended by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Coun Abid Hussain.

Peter Maufe the son of Thomas Harold Broadbent Maufe will attend the service and read the blessing of the stone.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Coun Abid Hussain, said: "The outstanding bravery of Second Lieutenant Broadbent Maufe was long ago recognised with the awarding of the Victoria Cross.

“It is extremely important that we never forget the heroism shown and the sacrifices made by people during the First World War, and it is truly fitting that 100 years to the day from his exceptional act of heroism, his son Peter is able be at this ceremony to ensure that generations to come continue to remember."

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