THE graves of two First World War heroes from Burnley are to included in a project which aims to restore the final resting places of Victoria Cross recipients.

Private Thomas Whitham, from the Coldstream Guards, and Second Lieutenant Hugh Colvin, from the Cheshire Regiment, will have their graves restored to their former glory as part of a national £100,000 project.

Headstones will be cleaned or replaced so that the graves are a fitting tribute to their sacrifice.

2Lt Colvin, who is buried in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland, received the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in September 1917.

He managed to capture a number of prisoners near Ypres, in Belgium, despite losing all the fellow officers of his company, and all but one in the leading company.

Born in Worsthorne, Pte Whitham was awarded the Victoria Cross in July 1917 and is buried at the Inghamite Burial Ground, in Nelson.

He received the honour for his bravery during an attack at Pilckem, near Ypres. During the attack an enemy machine-gun was seen to be enfilading the battalion on the right, but Pte Whitham, despite being under heavy fire, managed to capture it, together with an officer and two other ranks.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “An entire generation of men fought for Britain’s freedom in the First World War and all fought valiantly.

“But for hundreds of those men their bravery was of such an exceptional nature they were bestowed with the highest military award, the Victoria Cross.

“As these men were honoured then for their extreme bravery on the battlefields, they should be honoured still.

“That is why I am privileged to offer more than £100,000 towards this project to ensure that their final resting places are venerated memorials where communities can pay their respects and learn about their local heroes.”