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Derby-born World War One hero Jacob Rivers VC was commemorated with the unveiling of a plaque yesterday (Sunday 12 March) at Derby station.
The East Midlands Trains station team at Derby and Railway Heritage Trust representatives collaborated on the 102nd anniversary of Private Rivers’ death to ensure his brave deeds would not be forgotten.
Jacob Rivers was awarded the prestigious Victoria Cross - the highest award for gallantry whilst in combat - posthumously for his part in an operation at Neuve Chappelle in France.
As part of The Sherwood Foresters battalion, he is said to have reached enemy lines and hurled bombs towards them, causing a retreat. This act of bravery probably saved his battalion who were quite far advanced and flanked by the enemy.
Private Rivers performed a similar act of bravery again on the very same day, which made the enemy withdraw further. Unfortunately, on this occasion he was killed, although his remains were never found.
Private Rivers is commemorated at the Le Touret Memorial in France, on a memorial stone in Derby town centre that was dedicated to him on the centenary of his death two years ago, and now also at Derby station.
Andy Savage, Executive Director of the Railway Heritage Trust, said: “Private Rivers was a very brave man who fought to protect his own battalion with two incredibly selfless acts of bravery.
“We are really pleased that a hero with such strong roots in the area is now recognised in this way at Derby station. Private Rivers is one of seven railway VC recipients and the Trust is making sure we remember them all with commemorative plaques.”
Paul Mobbs, Customer Experience Manager for East Midlands Trains at Derby station, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to mark the life of Jacob Rivers VC in this way and show our gratitude to him for making the ultimate sacrifice of his own life.
“Private Rivers was a ballast labourer for the Midland Railway until he volunteered to join the army at the outbreak of war in 1914. He is one of a very select group of seven railwaymen who have been awarded the Victoria Cross so we are all very proud of him.”
Family members of Jacob Rivers VC were in attendance for the unveiling of the plaque at Derby station, which is located on platform one, and all took a great pride in their relative and the occasion.
The Victoria Cross medal awarded to Jacob Rivers VC is displayed at The Sherwood Foresters Museum in Nottingham.