Play about Yorkshire WW1 hero Jack Harrison aims to raise money for statue in hometown

Christopher Corbett plays WW1 VC Jack Harrison in An Ordinary Hero
Christopher Corbett plays WW1 VC Jack Harrison in An Ordinary Hero
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A play about one of Hull's most famous sons is being staged next month as part of fundraising efforts to raise a statue in his honour in his hometown.

An Ordinary Hero, by Ian Peter Judson, chronicles the life of Jack Harrison from his humble beginnings to his death in France in the First World War.

Medals awarded to Jack Harrison, the only rugby league player to be awarded the Victoria Cross, right, and the Military Cross. Picture: Terry Carrott

Medals awarded to Jack Harrison, the only rugby league player to be awarded the Victoria Cross, right, and the Military Cross. Picture: Terry Carrott

Born in Hull in 1890, Harrison played rugby in York before returning to Hull to get married to his childhood sweetheart Lilian in 1912.

While working as a teacher, Harrison joined Hull FC and soon became a firm favourite with the fans.

In the 1913-14 season he set a try scoring record of 52, which stands to this day.

He was selected to tour Australia but the tour was cancelled because of the outbreak of war.

Mr Harrison joined the East Yorkshire Regiment as part of the Hull Brigade. Commissioned as a second lieutenant, he was posted to the Somme battlefield.

In 1917 he was awarded the Military Cross for leading a patrol into no man's land. His brigade was then sent to fight in the infamous battle of Oppy Wood.

On May 3 he twice led his company against an enemy trench under terrific rifle and machine-gun fire, but was repulsed.

Armed only with a pistol and a Mills hand grenade, he finally made a dash at the machine-gun, hoping to spare the many men in his company who were pinned down by the deadly fire.

His platoon watched as he fell while throwing the grenade towards the machine-gun post. He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously - his body was never found.

The Pony Express Theatre Company production starring Christopher Corbett as Jack is being staged at Park Street Performing Arts Centre from November 8 to 10.

There will be four performances over the weekend including a Sunday matinee.

Tickets for £10 (£8 concessions including forces veterans) are available from www.ticketsource.co.uk/parkstreet.

Proceeds are being donated to the Jack Harrison VC MC Statue Campaign.