A commemorative paving stone will be unveiled this week in memory of Cyril Gourley who was awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War.
Sgt Gourley was born in 1893 at 6 Victoria Park, Wavertree, but moved to West Kirby in 1899. The commemorative stone has been laid at Liverpool Parish Church and a plaque will also be unveiled at his graveside in Grange Cemetery, West Kirby this Thursday, 30 November.
Educated at Calday Grange Grammar School, Sgt Gourley graduated from Liverpool University in 1913 with a degree in commercial science. He then worked for the Alfred Holt Shipping Line before joining the Territorial Army in 1914.
He had already been awarded the Military Medal in September 1917 for conspicuous gallantry after putting out a fire near an ammunition dump when he was involved in the Battle of Cambrai, Little Priel Farm, France, on 30 November 1917.
His Victoria Cross citation reads: “For most conspicuous bravery when in command of a section of howitzers. Though the enemy advanced in force, getting within 400 yards in front, between 300 and 400 yards to one flank and with snipers in rear, Sgt Gourley managed to keep one gun in action practically throughout the day.
“Though frequently driven off he always returned, carrying ammunition, laying and firing the gun himself, taking first one and then another of the detachment to assist him. When the enemy advanced he pulled his gun out of the pit and engaged a machine gun at 500 yards, knocking it out with a direct hit.
“All day he held the enemy in check, firing with open sights on enemy parties in full view at 300 to 800 yards, and thereby saved his guns, which were withdrawn at nightfall. He had previously been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry.”
After the war, Sgt Gourley worked for Lever Brothers, travelling widely to open up new business for the company and in 1925 he moved to Hill Close, School Lane, West Kirby. His house was later renamed Gourley Grange and the lane was also renamed Gourley’s Lane in his honour. During the Second World War, Gourley was a firewatcher in Liverpool and then in 1952 he moved to Haslemere, Surrey.