Tyne & Wear

Stone for 'gallant' VC soldier unveiled in Murton

William McNally Image copyright Durham County Council
Image caption Miner William McNally enlisted in 1914 and went on to win both the Military Medal and Victoria Cross for his bravery

A memorial stone for a World War One soldier who was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for "innumerable acts of gallantry" has been unveiled.

Sgt William McNally, a miner from Murton, near Seaham, got the VC for his actions in northern Italy between 27 and 29 October 1918.

These included the single-handed seizure of a machine gun post and showing leadership "beyond all praise".

The commemorative paving stone has been unveiled on Murton village green.

His daughter Doreen Murley, who attended the unveiling, said: "It's a very proud day for us all."

She said he "never talked about" his medal or his actions.

Image caption Doreen Murley (right) said she was very proud of her father William McNally

The commemorative stone is the last of seven presented to Durham County Council to honour the county's VC heroes to be installed.

Sgt McNally was 20 when he enlisted in the Green Howards, now known as the Yorkshire Regiment.

During the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 he dragged a seriously wounded officer to safety, an act for which he was awarded the Military Medal.

He was awarded a bar to his medal in November 1917 after he thrice rescued men wounded or buried by enemy shellfire at Passchendaele, near Ypres.

Image caption The stone is the seventh to be installed in County Durham to soldiers awarded the VC

Following his actions in Italy, he received his VC from King George V in July 1919 and the following year he was included in the VC Guard of Honour for the interment of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey.

Despite being wounded three times, he returned to work at Murton Colliery after the war.

Sgt McNally died in Murton in January 1976 and, two years later, a stone memorial was unveiled on the village green where the new VC stone has been installed.

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