Remembrance Sunday services honour region's heroes

A paving stone is being unveiled to commemorate local Victoria Cross recipient, John Cunningham, as part of the Remembrance Day service in Scunthorpe.

The Victoria Cross (VC) commemorative paving stones programme is a national scheme that will see every VC recipient of the First World War honoured with a paving stone laid in their birthplace.

John Cunningham was born on 28 June 1897 in Swains Yard, off Manley Street, Scunthorpe. The family later moved to Hull where John attended school before enlisting in the 3rd Hull Battalion when he was 17.

The family were of Romani gypsy heritage and John was one of thousands of gypsies and travellers who joined the army at the start of the First World War. He served with the East Yorkshire Regiment, guarding the Suez Canal in Egypt, before the regiment moved to France and the Western Front.

On 13 November 1916, when John was just 19-years-old, he was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in the Battle of the Somme.

Earlier this year, North Lincolnshire Council launched a campaign to find John Cunningham's relatives so they could be involved in the unveiling of the commemorative stone. A number of John's descendants came forward and his nephew and oldest living relative, 81-year-old John Moore, is unveiling the paving stone exactly one hundred years after his uncle was awarded this most prestigious of medals.John Cunningham VC's commemorative paving stone is being laid at the base of the war memorial outside North Lincolnshire Museum on Oswald Road and will be unveiled as part of the annual Remembrance Day service.

Serving members of today's Yorkshire Regiment, and veterans old and new are attending the service. The event is even more significant because The Yorkshire Regiment will bring along Private Cunningham's original Victoria Cross which is held by the regiment in the York Army Museum.

The East Yorkshire Regiment - which disbanded in 1958 - is being represented at the event by Mr Ray Lord, a resident of Hull and a veteran of the D-Day landings of 6 June 1944.

A wreath is being laid by one of Scunthorpe's own, Warrant Officer Paul Smales from the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment based at Catterick. The 2nd Battalion will return to Kabul, Afghanistan in 2017.

A display board about the life of John Cunningham VC has been added to the First World War gallery at North Lincolnshire Museum to provide visitors with more information about this local war hero.

Footage of John Cunningham VC and stories of brave 'Yorkshire Warriors' old and new, are also on display in the York Army Museum on Tower Street, York.