Stoke & Staffordshire

Hopes of renovating grave of war hero William Coltman VC

The grave of William Coltman
Image caption The charity wants £3,000 to preserve the grave at St Mark's Church, Winshill

A charity hopes to restore the grave of a Staffordshire World War I hero.

L/Cpl William Coltman, from Burton-upon-Trent, was one of the war's most decorated soldiers, including being awarded the Victoria Cross.

He was a stretcher bearer with the North Staffordshire Regiment and died, aged 82, in 1974.

The Victoria Cross Trust charity has set the target of raising £3,000 to preserve the grave at St Mark's Church, Winshill.

Mr Coltman was also awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal twice and the Military Medal and Bar.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross for "most conspicuous bravery, initiative and devotion to duty".

As a stretcher bearer, he went out under fire to find casualties who had been left behind.

'Greatest heroes'

Spokesman Gary Stapleton said that after two days of fundraising, the charity, which helps to preserve the graves of those awarded the Victoria Cross, already had £400.

The charity plans to level the ground, repair the headstone, replace the kerb stones and also highlight the soldier's significance on a wedge stone.

Mr Stapleton said: "He was the most decorated of the rank in the First World War…I think that really is enough to say to people this guy is one of the greatest heroes of the First World War."

There are also plans for a statue to be built of him in Burton-upon-Trent.

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