A BRAVE Stourbridge-born war hero has been honoured with a new commemorative plaque - 100 years after his heroics saved many lives in battle during the First World War.

Lye-born Lance Corporal Thomas Bryan, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his extraordinary courage during the Battle of Arras, was remembered at a ceremony in Mary Stevens Park yesterday afternoon (Sunday April 9).

The moving service in the sunshine at the war memorial, which was led by Reverend Simon Falshaw and attended by the Mayor of Dudley, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire Richard Lockett, High Sheriff Dr Keith Bradshaw DL and relatives of the gutsy soldier, was held 100 years to the day that L/Cpl Bryan’s bravery earned him the UK’s highest honour for gallantry.

His proud grandson Alex Weston, aged 72, from Lancashire, described the event and unveiling of a new stone memorial next to the cenotaph as “absolutely fantastic”.

Retired engineer Mr Weston attended the ceremony with three generations of the soldier’s family including L/Cpl Bryan’s great great-grand-daughter Ava Weston, aged eight, and he said afterwards: “I think it’s an absolute fitting tribute to him.”

Born in Bott Lane, Lye, on January 21, 1882, Thomas Bryan moved from the Black Country with his family during childhood to Whitwood Mere, Castleford, West Yorkshire, where he later followed in his father’s footsteps to become a coal miner at Whitwood Colliery.

In 1903 he wed Sarah Smart and the couple went on to have five children.

A keen sportsman in his youth, he also played rugby league for Castleford in 1906-07.

In December 1915 he was sent to the Western Front with the 25th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers.

But in April 1916 he was sent home to recover from a broken ankle after the battalion moved to the Somme.

Later that year he returned to the frontline and was promoted to lance corporal in March 1917 – and on April 9, the first day of the Battle of Arras, the Fusiliers started to advance but were held up by a German machine-gun.

Together with Captain Huntley, 35-year-old L/Cpl Bryan set out to find the weapon but Capt Huntley was killed by a sniper when he raised his head to use his binoculars.

Brave L/Cpl Bryan continued alone and despite being wounded he managed to disable the machine gun that was causing carnage after making his approach from behind and taking out two of the German team.

His actions earned him the prestigious Victoria Cross which was presented to him by King George V in June 1917.

Bryan’s grandson Mr Weston said: “On the day he won this medal 2,000 men were killed by that gun.”

Having survived his heroics, Bryan died in Doncaster in 1945, at the age of 63, and he is buried in Arksey Cemetery, Doncaster.

The memorial plaque, unveiled as part of nationwide efforts to mark the centenary of the First World War, is the second to be erected in Mary Stevens Park, Norton.

A commemorative stone for fellow Stourbridge-born VC winner Second Lieutenant Felix Baxter was unveiled on April 18, 2016.

Living Victoria Cross recipient Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry had been listed to attend Sunday’s ceremony but he was unable to make it due to personal reasons.

He has reportedly vowed to try and attend the third and final VC hero commemoration in the borough which will be held on July 27 for Private Thomas Barratt of Coseley.