PLANS to create a memorial to a South Derbyshire war hero hailed as ‘the hero of Delhi’ have taken a big step forward.
Ticknall Parish Council has announced a memorial plaque for Sergeant John Smith, who was awarded the Victoria Cross, will cost £1540.
It will also be enlarged before it is installed on the south facing wall of Ticknall Village Hall.
The memorial to Smith will be unveiled on May 18, 2014 – exactly 150 years after his death – which the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire William Tucker and Derbyshire branch of the Royal British Legion will attend.
Chairman of the parish council Nigel Picken told the Mail the memorial project came about after a parishioner researched Smith.
He said: “It’s very impressive what he did. You have almost got to get killed to get that medal so it has been good to see that we have been able to get sponsorship towards it.
“We have asked organisations for sponsorship and readily provided it.”
Sculptor Graeme Mitcheson will carve the memorial out of Welsh slate which Mr Picken said will ‘last forever’.
As a sergeant, Smith, was awarded the Victoria Cross, the country’s highest honour, for ‘blowing in the Kashmir Gate of the fortress of Delhi’, while under a heavy musketry fire, on September 14, 1857, before an assault on the city.
He was later branded ‘The Hero of Delhi’ in the Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal in November 1858.
It said he was ‘the only the only survivor of the daring band of five who immortalized themselves by blowing up the Kashmir Gate.’
Smith was also one of the first recipients of the Victoria Cross which first introduced in January 1856.
Smith, a shoemaker’s son, was born in Ticknall in 1814. He was baptised at Ticknall Church and attended Dame Catherine Harpur School.
He joined the Bengal Army in 1841 before serving in India with 5th Company Bengal Sappers and Miners and took part in the First Anglo-Afghan War, the Sutlej Campaign and the Indian Mutiny.