A GOVERNMENT u-turn on plans to omit the first soldier to posthumously be awarded a Victoria Cross in the First World War from centenary commemorations have been welcomed.
Maurice Dease, a lieutenant in the 4th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, studied at Stonyhurst College before joining the Army.
Under the former plans, Lieutenant Dease would not have been eligible for a commemorative paving stone to be placed in his home town because he was born in Coole, County Westmeath. in Ireland.
In a letter to the college, Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, said that the government was holding talks with the Irish government to work out a way to commemorate Lieutenant Dease in his home town.
Twenty eight commemorative stones will be unveiled this year to honour those who won medals in 1914 and others will be laid in every year up to 2018.
Lieutenant Dease, who was born in 1889, attended Stonyhurst College from 1903 to 1907, having previously studied in London, and died during the Battle of Mons on August 23 1914, aged 24.
Andrew Johnson, headmaster of Stonyhurst College, said: “This is great news and I hope that Maurice Dease will be commemorated in his home town after all.
“He’s a very important figure at the school and even one of our own cadet platoons is named after him.
“The school will be marking his death, along with the other Stonyhurst students who fought during the war at a special event later this year.
“Students will also be travelling out to the battlefields to see where some of the former students fell, including where Maurice Dease was killed.”
After Stonyhurst, Dease was educated at the Army Department of Wimbledon College before attending the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.
He is remembered with a plaque on Nimy Bridge, Mons and in Westminster Cathedral. His name is on the Wayside Cross in Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire and his medal is displayed at the Royal Fusiliers Museum in the Tower of London.
He is buried in St Symphorium Military Cemetery, Belgium.