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Actions of local war hero honoured at namesake home

Resident Irene Slater (left) meets Baskeyfield’s relatives: Christine and Holly Baskeyfield and Joyce Windsor, with Sanctuary’s registered retirement living manager, Sarah-Jane Morgan (right).
Resident Irene Slater (left) meets Baskeyfield’s relatives: Christine and Holly Baskeyfield and Joyce Windsor, with Sanctuary’s registered retirement living manager, Sarah-Jane Morgan (right).

A Staffordshire war hero who singlehandedly held off a German tank advancement until his last breath has been honoured by the Stoke retirement living community named after him.

Sanctuary’s Baskeyfield House, on Angels Way, unveiled a plaque and photo of the late Lance Sergeant John Baskeyfield at a special event attended by two of his nieces and great niece, which will serve as a permanent reminder of his legacy.

Lance Sgt Baskeyfield, a 2nd South Staffordshire Regiment artillery gunner, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross in September 1944 after holding the line against a German tank advancement in the Battle of Arnhem in Oosterbeek, Holland.

Despite being badly wounded in the leg, Burslem-born Baskeyfield refused medical help and remained at his gun, shouting encouragement to soldiers in neighbouring trenches.

He left only when the gun was knocked out and crawled, through mortar and shell fire, to man a neighbouring weapon, launching an attack on an approaching self-propelled gun, where he was ultimately killed at just 21 years old.

Three days later, his citation for the Victoria Cross appeared in the London Gazette.

Its final paragraph read: “The superb gallantry of this N.C.O. is beyond praise. During the remaining days at Arnhem stories of his valour were a constant inspiration to all ranks.

“He spurned danger, ignored pain and, by his supreme fighting spirit, infected all who witnessed his conduct with the same aggressiveness and dogged devotion to duty which characterised his actions throughout.”

Sarah-Jane Morgan, Sanctuary’s registered retirement living manager, said: “John Baskeyfield’s story is one of unimaginable bravery when faced with the horrors of war.

“Our residents were keen to research the man our service is named after and came away incredibly moved by the experience. We are all delighted, but also humbled, to welcome his family to our service and unveil our tribute to him.”

Irene Slater, one of the residents who successfully tracked down Baskeyfield’s relatives online, commented: “Given his heroic sacrifice and official recognition 74 years ago, this seemed like a fitting way to remember the man after whom we are named.”   

Baskeyfield House was built in 2015 and comprises modern apartments, designed for comfort, independence and peace of mind for people aged over 55.

If you’re interested in finding out more about rented apartments available at Baskeyfield House, call 01782 958 555.

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