Naval First World War hero commemorated in Blackburn

A First World War hero from Blackburn has been honoured with a lasting memorial during a ceremony in his hometown.

Naval First World War hero commemorated in BlackburnLieutenant Percy Dean, who was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces, for his courageous actions during the Great War, was commemorated with the dedication of a paving stone outside Blackburn Town Hall.

Lieutenant Dean, born in 1877, was a member of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

On 22 and 23 April 1918 at Zeebrugge, Belgium, after Intrepid and Iphigenia had been scuttled, their crews were taken off by Motor Launch 282 commanded by Lieutenant Dean.

He embarked more than 100 officers and men under constant and deadly fire from heavy and machine-guns at point blank range.

By laying these commemorative plaques, we are ensuring that the truly heroic deeds of Percy Dean and John Schofield remain with us forever

Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn Council

This complete, he was about to clear the canal when the steering gear broke down, so he manoeuvred on his engines and was actually clear of the entrance to the harbour when he was told there was an officer in the water. He immediately turned back and rescued him. He later achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

After the war he returned to Blackburn and became town MP in December 1918 until 1922 before going on to become a prominent local businessman. He died in March 1939, aged 62.

Also honoured with a paving stone was Second Lieutenant John Schofield, a soldier with the Lancashire Fusiliers, awarded the VC posthumously after being killed in an enemy attack in Givenchy, France, on April 9th 1918, aged 26.

Family members attended along with civic dignitaries. Leader of Blackburn Council, Councillor Mohammed Khan, said, “These were two exceptionally brave men who were a huge credit to our borough and whose names and memories we should never forget.

“By laying these commemorative plaques, we are ensuring that the truly heroic deeds of Percy Dean and John Schofield remain with us forever. We should never forget such selfless bravery by our men and women during two world wars and other wars since. Without them we almost certainly wouldn’t be here today.”