‘For Valour’ Exhibition to honour the Manchester men awarded Victoria Cross on display at Central Library

An exhibition commemorating the heroism of six Manchester men who were awarded the Victoria Cross has opened at Mancehster's Central Library.

The exhibition is being held as Manchester prepares for a ceremony in which Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will unveil commemorative paving stones at the Cenotaph to honour the six men. 

The exhibition, which can be seen at Central Library’s Archives+ Centre,  includes replicas of the many medals awarded to the men for their extreme bravery during World War I – including their Victoria Crosses, which are the highest military decoration for gallantry.  It also provides display panels giving an insight into the men’s lives, both in peacetime and during World War I.

The six paving stones commemorating the men will be unveiled at the Cenotaph at a ceremony on Friday 14 October (at around lunchtime).  Representatives of each family will lay commemorative wreaths during the ceremony. 

Among the six was Henry Kelly, from Moston.  Henry rose from the rank of Private to Second Lieutenant during World War I and won the Victoria Cross for carrying a wounded soldier 70 yards to safety – while under heavy fire – before helping to rescue three other soldiers.  He was later awarded the Military Cross for leading an attack which led to the capture of two machine guns and 31 prisoners.

Henry Kelly
Henry Kelly

The free 'For Valour' exhibition will be at Central Library until Saturday 12 November, with display banners to commemorate the local heroes also being shown at Moston Library, Hulme Library, Beswick Library and Newton Heath Library.

Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “The exhibition is a fitting tribute to the six men who showed the most incredible courage during World War I, offering rich detail to help explain why it is so important that their valour is formally commemorated, as we continue to mark the centenary of the conflict.

“I am proud that through our libraries, we are able to help connect the stories of these remarkable local heroes with the Mancunians of today.”

Volunteers have been researching into the history of the Mancunian Victoria Cross recipients and also many other stories relating to the lives of Manchester people during World War I.  To find out more, go to