The Materials Processing Institute has commemorated the life and sacrifice of local war hero, William Henry Short, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
To honour Eston-born steelworker, William Henry Short, who served and lost his life in the 1914-18 Great War, the Institute has named one of its new meeting rooms the “Short Room”. The room was dedicated in a short service on Friday 5 August, attended by the Mayor of Redcar and Cleveland, Cllr Barry Hunt, Chair of Redcar Branch British Legion Eric Howden BEM, and several of Mr Short’s descendants.
Private William Henry Short served in the 8th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for “conspicuous bravery” during the Battle of the Somme in which he was fatally injured, dying of his wounds on 7 August, 1916 at Munster Alley.
A contemporary report of his bravery read: “He was foremost in the attack, bombing the enemy with great gallantry, when he was severely wounded in the foot. He was urged to go back, but refused and continued to throw bombs. Later his leg was shattered by a shell and he was unable to stand, so that he lay in the trench adjusting detonators and straightening the pins of bombs for his comrades.
“He died before he could be carried out of the trench. For the last eleven months he had always volunteered for dangerous enterprises, and had always set a magnificent example of bravery and devotion to duty.”
Chris McDonald, Chief Executive of the Materials Processing Institute, said “William Short displayed magnificent bravery and devotion to duty. The Materials Processing Institute is privileged to honour his extraordinary contribution and sacrifice 100 years on.”
“The Materials Processing Institute is committed to celebrating the heritage of the North East and the positive contribution it has made to the industrial world and society as a whole. We look forward to continuing to provide support to innovative industrialists, securing a strong future for the area’s proud past.”
The South Bank-based Materials Processing Institute is a not for profit company, which provides a range of research and development, and consultancy services for industrial innovators. It also continues to make specialist steel at the Normanton Plant at its facility on Teesside. The Institute has recently undertaken extensive renovation, improving laboratory and meeting facilities. The “Short Room” is one of the newly refurbished rooms and will serve as a lasting monument to Private Short’s connection with the region’s steel heritage.
Eric Howden BEM, added: “It is very comforting that companies, like the Materials Processing Institute, are enthusiastic about honouring our heroes, so that people don’t have to go to cemeteries and war memorials to be reminded about the extraordinary achievements and sacrifices our fallen veterans have made.”
Cllr Barry Hunt said: “Private Short is one of our area’s heroes. Like so many of his contemporaries, he showed extraordinary gallantry in the face of unimaginable horrors. It was my pleasure to attend the event at the Materials Processing Institute today, where his sacrifice will live on.”
Sue Haley, Private Short’s Great Niece, added: “It was a wonderful surprise to hear about dedication at the Materials Processing Institute. It’s particularly poignant to establish a lasting connection with the steel industry. As with many families locally the steel industry is in our blood and this honour cements his connection with the industry, carrying his name into the future.”