Turn up your volume up to hear Frank telling his own story

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Francis Arthur Jefferson VC
2nd Bn Lancashire Fusiliers

Frank with his P.I.A.T. gun
VC Francis Arthur Jefferson: Outline of military service record

Enlisted in the South Lancashire Regiment on 19 February 1942 and posted to No. 19 Infantry Training Centre, Formby, Lancashire. His religious denomination was Church of England.

Posted to 1/4th Battalion on 30 June 1942.

Appointed Unpaid Lance Corporal and Paid Lance Corporal on 14 August 1942.

Relinquished the rank of Paid Lance Corporal on admission to High Royds EMS Hospital, Menston, Yorkshire on 18 September 1942.

Posted to ‘Y’ List on 5 October 1942.

Sailed for North Africa on 17 May 1943, arriving on 27 May.

Transferred to the Lancashire Fusiliers on 14 June 1943 and posted to No. 13 Platoon, 2nd Battalion.

To Italy where he was appointed a Company Runner with 'C' Company.

Returned to 13 Platoon and took part in action on the Gustav Line at Monte Cassino, Italy on 16 May 1944

Promoted Lance Corporal on 17 May 1944.

Received a shrapnel wound to his shoulder on 21 June 1944. Evacuated to England by air, arriving on 26 August 1944 and was admitted to the military hospital at Catterick, Yorkshire.

Posted to No. 5 ID on the following day.

Posted to Service Speakers Section, Ministry of Supply on 22 September 1944 and sent on a Victory Bond Tour throughout the United Kingdom.

Relinquished appointment of Lance Corporal on 24 October 1944.

Posted top 6th Infantry Holding Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers on 14 March 1945.

Admitted to Military Hospital, Colchester, Essex on 22 May 1945.

Returned to duty on 28 May 1945.

Proceeded on Release Leave on 27 June 1946.

Discharged to Class ‘B’ release on 17 July 1946.

Re-enlisted in ‘G’ Corps of Infantry, Northamptonshire Regiment, (Territorial Army) on 4 January 1950 at Peterborough, Northamptonshire and posted to 5th Battalion (No. 22259612). Description: 5’ 5½" tall, weighed 138lbs with brown eyes and fair hair.

Posted to Class ‘W (T)’ Reserve on 29 June 1951.

Sent in by Barbara Jefferson Christie

Turn your speakers on to hear Frank Jefferson VC
telling his account of the action that day
give it time to download

The righthand photo has been enhanced by Russell Hayley one of the Jefferson Family
“The photograph shows what appears to be an assault gun: Sturmgeschutz 40 Ausf. G (StuG III Ausf. G). Basically, the Germans used the hull of a Panzer III (the turret was removed) and fitted a 7,5cm gun into the front of the superstructure. Assault guns were widely used and were difficult to spot given their low silhouette. They were employed as assault gun (Sturmgeschutz) / tank destroyers usually in detachments both independent and attached to divisions. They were used at Monte Cassino and there are a number of photos in existence.which show them knocked out.”

The VC Citation and Special Order of the Day

Francis Arthur Jefferson

was just 22 years old when he found himself fighting at Cassino Italy with the
2nd Bn The Lancashire Fusiliers.
On 16 May 1944, during an attack on the Gustav Line, Monte Cassino, Italy, the leading company of Fusilier Jefferson's battalion had to dig in without protection. The enemy counter-attacked opening fire at short range, and Fusilier Jefferson, on his own initiative, seized a P.I.A.T. gun and, running forward under a hail of bullets, fired on the leading tank. It burst into flames and all the crew were killed. The Fusilier then reloaded and went towards the second tank which withdrew before he could get within range. By this time our own tanks had arrived and the enemy counter-attack was smashed.

"Following a chance meeting at the 2011 Blackpool veterans week with 3449543 Colour Sgt Pter Maher MM, who fought and was wounded with the 2nd Bn LFs in Italy, the following previously unrecorded fact became known:-

The PIAT Anti Tank weapon required a team of 2 to operate it, and there was always a slight disbelief that Jefferson VC could have managed his magnificent effort single handed.

Peter has now told us that there was indeed a team of two, and that the second man was Fusilier Sylvan Buckley MM
Fusilier Sylvan Buckley won the MM in 1940 at Dunkirk

Francis(always known as Frank to his mates) went on to be promoted L/Cpl, and was awarded the highest Military Honour of The Victoria Cross.
His award was announced in the London Gazette on the 13th July 1944.

Frank was born in Ulverston on the 18th August 1921, and he died in Bolton on the 4th September 1982.
His remains were cremated at Bolton, and his ashes spread on the War Memorial at Wellington Barracks Bury.

We who knew him were fortunate indeed.
Omnia Audax XXth

"The King recently held an investiture at Buckingham Palace.
42113.L/CPL Francis Jefferson
who received the Victoria Cross
with his mother and father.
The award was announced in the London Gazette of 13th July 1944"

King George VI Presents Victoria Cross For Gallantry at the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy To Captain Richard Wakeford, Hampshire Regiment
Fusilier Francis Arthur Jefferson (to Wakefield's left) of the Lancashire Fusiliers was also awarded the VC at the same ceremony.

King George V1
presents Frank with his VC

Frank Age 1

Frank Jefferson
as a young man

Frank Jefferson's

Frank and his LF mates

Frank and CSM Smith
at Wellington Barracks

The Jefferson Family on Parade Remembrance Sunday Liverpool 2006
Mike Jefferson (a relative) wearing the "replica"VC

Bill Jefferson's account of the Day


Not a military related story but one I thought might show Frank in another light.
I knew him as a young lad when he used to pop in the Clifton Arms and Bolton and used to take me or one of my brothers to watch Bolton Wanderers when we were to young to go on our own, at least because our Parent's were working at the time.
I recall him showing me his war memorabilia and if I recall correctly his VC which to me was a great honour. It's not every day you meet such a person let alone get to see such an item without there being a glass case in between.
I also recall with amusement being shocked at some of the words I didn't realise he knew when shouting comments at the referee or opposing players.
We moved away before he passed away but did hear about him in the news and via my dad who still called in the Clifton a lot.
All these years later with a grown up lad of my own, I still remember the nice old guy, with a slight American accent who enjoyed a good game of football (yes it can happen at Bolton sometimes) and feeling privileged to see a Victoria Cross in the presence of someone who earned it.

Declan Close

Copy of an E Mail Joe has received. Now we hope this will bring more of the Jefferson Family together

From: sandi771969@yahoo.com
To: the-editor@lancs-fusiliers.co.uk
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2008 7:25 PM
Subject: Frank Jefferson

Hello I was looking on the Internet and found your site. I am the granddaughter of Francis Jefferson. I think that it is wonderful you have pictures posted. Over the years the photos that my grandmother had have been lost. It was a great surprise that you had pictures of my grandparents wedding and picture of my Granddad when he was young. I want to thank you for being able to see a piece of my family's memories. If it is not to much trouble could you forward my email address to any family members I have. I have only memories of my Granddad from when he would come and stay with us when I was a child. I loved it when he visited I love him so much. My fondest memory of him was one year he came here for the Christmas holiday and buying him a hat with my allowance money. My Uncle told me that he had that hat until the day he died. It has been wonderful to talk a walk down memory lane.
Sandi Jefferson Valladares

Frank lived in America for sometime whilst he was there they had a VC Ball in his Honour
Joe bought this programme on E Bay

First Name:
Francis Arthur
Birth Town:
Birth County:
Resided Country:
Date of Action:
Date of Death:
Later Lance-Corporal.
Service Number:
Gazette Info:
VICTORIA CROSS,: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36605/supplement/3273. No. 3663590 Fusilier Francis Arthur Jefferson, 2nd Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers. On 16th May 1944 during an attack on the Gustav Line, Monte Casino, Italy, the leading company of Fusilier Jefferson's battalion had to dig in without protection. The enemy counter-attacked opening fire at short range, and Fusilier Jefferson, on his own initiative, seized a P.I.A.T. Gun and, running forward under a hail of bullets, fired on the leading tank. It burst into flames and all the crew were killed. The fusilier then reloaded and went towards the second tank which withdrew before he could get within range. By this time our own tanks had arrived and the enemy counter-attack was smashed.
Gazette Date:
11/07/1944 (V.C.)
Gazette Page:
3273 (V.C.); Issue: 36605 (V.C.)
Duty Location:
Gustav Line, Monte Casino, Italy; Italy (including Monte Cassino, Anzio, Salerno, San Marino etc)
British Army
Lancashire Fusiliers
2nd Battalion (Why is this important?)
Place of Death:
Bolton, Lancashire
Lancashire Fusiliers during World War 2
More information about Lancashire Fusiliers
Formed: 1881

Disbanded: 1968

The Regiment was first formed in 1688, in Devon as the Peyton's Regiment of Foot, named after the commanding colonel Sir Richard Peyton. It was formed following the Glorious... read more here >>
Search Records of Soldiers Awards from the London Gazette
Campaign Medals:
1939-1945 Star
This star was awarded for service in the Second World War between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945. The recipient was awarded this star if their service period was terminated by their death or disability due to service. Also the award of a gallantry medal or mention in Despatched also produced the award of this medal, regardless of...
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Italy Star
The Italy Star was a campaign medal awarded to Francis Arthur Jefferson and soldiers of the British Commonwealth for service in World War Two. This medal was awarded for operational service in Sicily or Italy during the period 11th June 1943 to 8th May 1945.
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War Medal 1939 - 1945
The War Medal 1939–1945 was a British decoration awarded to all full time service personnel of the Armed Forces wherever their service during the war was rendered. Operational and non-operational service counted provided personnel had completed 28 days service between 3rd September 1939 and the 2nd September 1945. In the Merchant Navy there was the requirement that 28...
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* Medal entitlement listed above is worked out using the same methodology the MOD used for issuing them
Gallantry Awards:

Victoria Cross (VC)
The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories. It takes precedence over all other orders, decorations and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and to civilians...
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Subject: Jefferson Cup

Dear Captain Eastwood,

Please accept my apologies for the delay in answering your enquiry; this has
been partly due to difficulties in obtaining reasonable photographs of the
item in question. Your email was passed to me as I am the teacher
responsible for our Remembrance activities.

Firstly, I can confirm that UVHS used to be known as Victoria Secondary
School in the 1940's. UVHS was formed from the amalgamation of that school
and Ulverston Grammar School in 1969. The Jefferson Cup was indeed awarded
to the Senior Boys Victor Ludorum until amalgamation in 1969. Following
amalgamation, the Grammar School Victor Ludorum Shield was used for this
purpose and the Jefferson Cup was awarded to Senior Boys for victory in
individual events. Over the last 30 years it has been in constant use, its
precise role adapting to the changing needs of the Games curriculum in the
school. One such re-assessment is taking place at the moment.

Our Headteacher, Mr Fay, offered the suggestion that The Jefferson Cup could
be awarded to a student who has shown particular courage, not necessarily in
the sporting field, as this would be very much in the spirit of the actions
of Frank Jefferson. We would be interested in your views.

As you can see from the photographs, the cup reflects its constant use in
that the silver-plating has been worn away in places! The cup, and
particularly the man and actions it commemorates, have a significant place
in the life of the school to this day. This school takes seriously its role
in Remembrance; in particular we are proud of the way in which our students
respect the sacrifices of others. We hold a Remembrance service each year
and observe the 2 minute silence (choosing the nearest school day in the
event of the 11th falling on a weekend). I find it particularly interesting
that the respect of young people for these acts of Remembrance is increasing
as the years pass. Certainly they take them more seriously than students did
when I was at school in the 70's. We include in our thoughts not only those
who made the ultimate sacrifice, but those who suffered for others in all
aspects of conflict. Frank Jefferson and his actions formed part of the
lecture (which we include in our service) in 2005 and 2006. These services
considered particularly World War 2 and our two VC winners (the other being
Basil Weston, The Green Howards). Jefferson's actions in winning the VC were
quite spectacular and always impress students when they discuss them. Frank
Jefferson's framed photograph hangs in the foyer of our library, together
with our other Remembrance material.

Unfortunately we do not hold any more detailed information than that which
appears on your web-site. If you are aware of any I would be very interested
to pursue it. It is ironic that we have far more material about our First
World War students (photo-gallery, letters to the school magazine,
postcards from the front etc) than we do for those from the Second World
War. I also think that it is ironic that, because Frank Jefferson survived
the war, he seems to have been less remembered.

I attach an image of the cup. I'll send more photos in a second email, in
case size causes a problem. It is difficult to photograph so that you can
read the lettering, so I offer the transcription below:


Hope this is of help. I look forward to hearing from you.
Alastair Greenway
(English teacher; also in charge of Remembrance).


Click on any of the photos to enlarge them

Joe, Geoff, Dennis, and members of the Jefferson Family went to the school
on Wed 11th March 2009
to re-present the cup after the Jefferson family and Web Site paid for its refurbished (re-silvering)
see the photo's below

Presentation of the Jefferson Cup
11th March, 2009


Presented to
Simon Collins Year 11

1. Mr Greenway: Welcome; an introduction, covering the School's use of the Jefferson Cup in the years since 1948 and the recent re-evaluation of role coinciding with Capt. Eastwood's first contact with us; the new criteria for the award of the Cup; concluding with Lancashire Fusiliers/Jefferson Family's very generous funding of the re-silvering of the Cup.
2. Captain Eastwood: Talk, covering The Lancashire Fusiliers and particularly Jefferson's actions which led to the award of the VC.
3. Mr Fay: A talk by the Head referring to the new criteria* and explaining why the recipient is worthy of the award of The Jefferson Cup.
4. The handing over of the Cup by a member of the Jefferson family.
5. Mr Greenway: Concluding remarks. Invitation to peruse the School's archive material relating to the two World Wars. Invitation to Lunch.

*The Jefferson Cup is awarded to a student of the school who has shown particular courage, not necessarily in the sporting field, and who, through their attitude and actions, is considered worthy of holding the trophy named in honour of Francis Jefferson VC.

In 1948 a group of Lancashire Fusilier Officers and Francis ( Frank )Jefferson VC went to Jefferson's old school in Ulverston Cumbria and presented a silver cup suitably engraved with his details,etc.
I contacted the school , now known as the UVHS and discovered that although the cup was still presented annually, it was badly in need of refurbishment.
A fund raising appeal was launched and due to the generosity of the LF web site supporters and members of the extended Jefferson family, the target was quickly reached.
The cup was refurbished and on the 11th of March 2009, Joe Eastwood, Dennis Laverick and Geoff Pycroft , together with a large number of the Jefferson family attended the presentation of The Jefferson VC trophy to this years winner, a fine young man named Simon Collins.
Esther Mary Park (nee Adams) cousin of Frank Jefferson who used to baby sit him recalled how one day she tipped him out of his pram by accident into the local canal, so we almost did not have our only WW2 VC winner !
As a bonus to the special day,the school had been given a pic of the very first presentation in 1948,
(see pic 5A below) which clearly showed that the cup once had a lid.
The school initiated a search in the archives and found it !
On photos row number 7
Freda Eldon, one of the 1948 winners is helping a senior member's of the Jefferson Family to present the trophy.
Photo number 5A is of the original 1948 photo, Freda is the girl on the right.
Alastair Greenway, one of the masters, has expressed an interest in continuing the link between the LF web site and the school, which can only be good for the Regiment.

Joe Eastwood.
Omnia Audax XXth.

To see enlarged photos place mouse arrow over any photo
then when it changes to a hand press the left hand button on your mouse
then use the arrows to go to next photo

Joe, Roger Rushton, (former teacher) and Geoff


Geoff Pycroft

Frank's Photo





Joe and in background Alastair Greenway

Alastair Greenway



The photo of the first winner of the Jefferson cup in the centre and on the right
Freda Eldon (nee Benjamin)



Head Teacher
Mr Fay
Mr Fry

Mr Fry

Alastair Greenway

Bill Jefferson the Lady in red is Esther Mary Park (nee Adams) Franks cousin and used to Baby sit Frank


Freda Eldon (nee Benjamin) handing over the Cup to Simon Collins

Simon Collins this years winner

Simon Collins this years winner

Alastair Greenway

Joe and Dennis
Simon Collins and his Friends


The Jefferson Family holding the cup Esther Mary Park (nee Adams)

The Jefferson Family and the winner of the Cup Simon Collins

From: Roger Rushton
To: the-editor@lancs-fusiliers.co.uk
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 9:13 AM
Subject: Ulverston Victoria High School - the Jefferson Cup

Dear Captain Eastwood,

I am the retired teacher who was talking to you yesterday about the school war memorials and the photograph of Frank Jefferson.

I thought the occasion of the first presentation of the revived Jefferson Cup was an enormous credit both to the regiment and the school, and I hope it signals the start of a relationship between the two institutions that will continue in succeeding years. For example I hope I may see news of winners of the trophy annually on your outstanding website?

The speech that you gave was a masterpiece of clarity and sensitivity, and I thought both you and the Head linked the original award of the VC with the present award of the Jefferson Cup in a most meaningful way. The presence of so many members of both families, and the little unexpected stories that emerged about Frank and the history of the trophy made it a very meaningful occasion.

It was very pleasant to meet you and your regimental colleagues, and I have since learned from Alastair that not only did the three of you travel all the way from Bury, but you had previously had to come from Cambridge. Please convey my grateful thanks to Geoff and Dennis for their attendance. It made a great difference to the staff and families that you were there, and without you and the regiment's standard the power of the event would have been much diminished.

I am amazed to see that photos of the presentation are already on your website! I will make sure that the school's photograph of Jefferson is copied and sent to you, and I will also look out for the photo and story in the local paper and send you that when it appears.

Finally, may I say that I read with interest the stated aim of your website, and it seemed to describe exactly the job done by you and your colleagues yesterday in relation to the people of Ulverston. Thank you very much for your contribution.

With best wishes,
Roger Rushton


This one is from Alastair Greenway
Subject: Ulverston Victoria High School - the Jefferson Cup

Thank you for your kind remarks concerning yesterday's Jefferson Cup ceremony and your positive comments upon the atmosphere of the school and the attitude of our pupils. I will certainly pass them on to our Head, Mr Fay.

I would especially like to express our gratitude for all the support you, Geoff and Dennis gave on the day. In particular I would like to thank you, Joe, for the magnificent talk on the actions Frank Jefferson undertook in order to win the VC. You judged the balance of technical detail and human interest superbly, in particular for the students present. One of my colleagues told me afterwards that she overheard a pupil say "That was really moving. It really brought it home to me."

It goes without saying that the success of the whole day rests to a very great degree upon all the work you and the Lancashire Fusiliers web-site have done. In addition to all the research over the years on Frank himself, your contacts with the Jefferson family made the rich diversity of our audience possible.

I am very pleased that Geoff has agreed to be the Liaison Officer between the LF website and UVHS. I am sure that this will prove highly beneficial for the school. I will email him shortly.

Rest assured that I will forward the various photographs, names, press cuttings etc you requested over the weekend. We will also add an article on the school website about the day, but I am afraid we cannot match you for speed! It will take us a few days to organise. We will, of course, include a link to your site.

Many thanks once again for your contribution to what everyone I have spoken to found an inspiring, enjoyable and very moving day.

Alastair Greenway

Photos taken by the school

The newspaper cutting of the first presentation of the Jefferson cup 1948

The News Paper coverage of the event

Article reproduced courtesy of The Westmorland Gazette

Article reproduced courtesy of Evening Mail

Thanks to both Newspapers,


This is a sketch done Fusilier J Howarth who was then in B Coy of Number 6 I.T.C.
Does anyone know of J Howarth or of his family today?