The Arthur Vickers Story

Report by young people from Kingshurst Academy

Above: Arthur Vickers (centre)

Here's the tale of Arthur Vickers

Who came from Birmingham town,

In the boxing-ring and the battlefield

He gained fame and renown.

 

Arthur Vickers was born 7 Woodcock Street, Aston, 2 February 1882.

 

He enlisted in the army in World War 1. He fought in the Battle of Loos on September 25, 1915. The men of Arthur's regiment, the 2nd Battalion Royal Warwicks, rushed from their trenches at 6.30am. Battling through a terrible wave of fire, they reached the first German trenches – but they found that the barbed wire had not been cut. That's when Arthur took matters into his own hands. He cut the wire, standing up to give himself more leverage, even the Germans were 50 yards away.

 

Arthur didn't think twice,

He said. "There's a job I must do,"

"Take cover, lads!" he cried

And he cut the wire in two.

 

He managed to cut two paths through the barbed wire, so his battalion could pass through and capture the first and second lines of the German trenches. But later that day, the Warwicks had to pull back, because they were left exposed by the withdrawal of British troops on their flanks.

That midnight, the Warwicks presented themselves for muster. Out of a total of 523 men who had gone out to battle that morning, only 140 could call out. The rest were dead, wounded or missing in action.

 

For his defiant spirit and outstanding bravery, Arthur was awarded the Victoria Cross. Arthur was sleeping when news came he had won the VC. He thought at first it was a joke. 

 

They called Arthur a hero

And they gave him the VC,

He thought it was all a joke,

He said, "A hero? Me?" 

Arthur’s descendants now live in the area around Kingshurst Academy School. We worked with the writer David Calcutt, to turn Arthur’s story into a poem, which we called The Ballad of the Midget VC. Then we made it into a film. We filmed some of it in the Arthur Vickers Trench in our school grounds. We hope you enjoy it!

Project group: Maisie Biddle, Callum Bolton, Kian Dagnall, Denver Ellis, Nathan Ellis, Rheanna Esson, Lewis Higgins, Matthew Ford, Holly Freeman, Carris Hannah, Codi Hickin, Kyle Johnson, Ayden Jones, Ellie Main, Evie Mason, Paige Morris, Charley Musgrove, Katleho Panyane, Luke Payne, Olivia Sharp, Brodie Small, Saffron Swoffer, Naomi Terry, Leigha Wheeler, Elise Woore 

School liaison (for Kingshurst Academy): Lee Fletcher, Jo Poole 

You can find out more about the Arthur Vickers VC Trench at Kingshurst Academy here.

Click here to return to the 'Lost Communities' project home page.

© Midland Actors Theatre  Tel.: 0121 608 7144 or 07946 006511

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