1900, Arundel

FIRTH, JAMES, Sergeant, was born 15 January 1874, at Wincobank, Sheffield, son of Charles Firth, steel smelter, of Jarrow-on-Tyne, and Mrs Charles Firth. He was educated at Swalwell, near Newcastle-on-Tyne, and joined the Army 29 July 1889, being promoted to Sergeant, and serving in the South African War of 1899-1902. For his services in this campaign Sergeant Firth received the Queen's Medal with one clasp, and was awarded the Victoria Cross [London Gazette, 11 June, 1901]: "James Firth, 1st Battalion Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. During the action at Plewman's Farm, near Arundel, Cape Colony, on the 24th February 1900, Lance Corporal Blackman having been wounded and lying exposed to a hot fire at a range of from 400-500 yards, Sergeant Firth picked him up and carried him to cover. Later in the day, when the enemy had advanced to within a short distance of the firing-line, Second Lieutenant Wilson being dangerously wounded and in a most exposed position Sergeant Firth carried him over the crest of the ridge, which was being held by the troops, to shelter, and was himself shot through the nose and eye whilst doing so". He was at first wrongly gazetted as 'W' Firth. Sergeant Firth married, June 1897, at Emmanuel Church, Attercliffe, Sheffield, Mary Florence, only daughter of Thomas Edwards, of Swineshead, Lincolnshire, and they had two children: Alleyne G Firth, born 25 June 1903 and Cecil J Firth, born 18 December 1907.

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