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Tameside MBC Pays Tribute to Hyde Gallant Hero

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Bugler plays "The Last Post"

Councillor Jackie Lane

It is an honour to pay tribute to Kenneth, he was the only Tameside citizen to be awarded the George Cross and that was for outstanding courage outside battle.

Captain Robert Bonner, Chairman – Museum of the Manchester Regiment

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are all here today to honour the memory of a very brave man, you will now all of you, whether you knew the details before, you will now know from reading the literature the details of the situation in which he was awarded the George Cross.

When Kenneth Horsfield, knowing all the dangers, endeavoured to save the life of a comrade and himself was killed in doing so. And now I wanted to come today unveil this plaque in his memory.


On Thursday 26th February 2009, the latest Tameside Blue Plaque was unveiled at Hyde Town Hall. 

The plaque is a tribute to Corporal Kenneth Horsfield (GC). Corporal Horsfield was born in Hyde on 30th September 1920, served in the 9th Bn Manchester Regiment and was seconded to the SAS. He is the only Tameside citizen to have received the George Cross following his gallant rescue efforts that resulted in his own loss of life in Italy on 18th August 1944, aged only 23.

Kenneth grew up in Hyde and joined the Manchester Regiment in 1940 and was seconded to the SAS. However, Kenneth was involved with preparing stores to be dropped to Yugoslav Partisan resistance forces.

On the 18th August 1944, an explosion occurred at the demolition area of Military Establishment 54, Central Mediterranean Forces, killing three men and injuring three others. Corporal Horsfield who was working nearby was one of the first on the scene.

After seeing a man lying trapped inside, and although a fire was blazing he jumped into the room in an attempt to rescue the trapped man but the fire was just too fierce. He knew that a second explosion was imminent and had in fact ordered all the other men away from the building and out to safety, but continued to use an extinguisher to try to prevent the fire from reaching the trapped man.

With entire disregard for his own safety, he continued to fight the fierce blaze in an effort to save the trapped man with full knowledge of the likelihood of another fatal explosion.

At his funeral, attended by a gathering of three hundred and fifty, a choir of twenty Yugoslavs sang. Kenneth was buried in Bari War Cemetery in Italy.

Kenneth was posthumously awarded the George Cross (GC), the highest award for conspicuous courage out of battle as published in the London Gazette on 23rd March 1945. On 7th April 1945 he featured as one of ten Personalities of the Week and People in the Public Eye in the Illustrated London News.

The moving ceremony involved old comrades, Men of the Inkerman Company, 4th Bn. The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and words of thanks from Captain Robert Bonner, Chairman of the Museum of the Manchester Regiment and was attended by members of Kenneth’s family.

The plaque was unveiled by Councillor Jackie Lane, Project Head of Heritage and Tourism, Kenneth’s nephew Stephen Horsfield and Sister-in-laws, Mrs Kathleen Gray and Mrs Enid Slater.

The plaque is permanently located at 27 Croft Street Hyde, the former Horsfield family home.

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