WITH 2018 marking the centenary of the end of the Great War, Burnley historian Jack Nadin looks at the heroic stories of men from his home town - who won Victoria Cross for their valour.

The Victoria Cross, the most prized of all military medals, was founded by Queen Victory in 1856.

During many conflicts, the sons and fathers, men and boys of East Lancashire had never failed to 'rise to the call' and the Roll of Honour in the reference library reveals that 4,400 of them gave their lives in WWI - 2,359 from Burnley alone, while in Padiham, the Hall family lost four sons.

Four soldiers with Burnley connections were awarded the Victoria Cross, the first being Frederick Brooks Dugdale, who was born in 1877, the third son of James Tertius Dugdale, who owned Lowerhouse Mills and had been involved, along with his brother John, in the formation of the Burnley Volunteers in 1859.

In 1899 Frederick was called up from university to join the army. He was gazetted to the 5th Lancers (Royal Irish) and within a week set forth for the Cape, where the second of the Boer Wars was being waged.

Promoted to Lieutenant, he was placed in command of a small outpost in 1901, which came under heavy fire and the order was given to retreat.

A sergeant, two men and a horse were, however, hit and Lt Dugdale dismounted and put one of the wounded men on his horse. Amid cannon fire the officer caught another horse for another wounded man and brought both to safety.

The brave act saw him mentioned in dispatches and on September 17,1901, he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Frederick returned home from war to a hero's reception the following July and was met at Southampton, by his brother Arthur, himself a distinguished soldier and taken to meet his proud parents.

The rejoicing however was short lived, for the young soldier was to meet an early end, not from war, but from a simple riding accident.

In November, Frederick was taking part in a meet when his horse threw him over a fence and then landed on top of him.

By the time Arthur reached his brother, he was unconscious and breathing heavily. The young hero died within two hours from a broken collar bone and a bone penetrating into his lung.

His coffin was borne by six sergeants of his regiment and among the wreaths was one beautiful floral representation of the Victoria Cross.

Frederick Brooks Dugdale war hero, and Burnley's first Victoria Cross recipient was aged just 24.