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Statue of Lance Sergeant J. D. Baskeyfield at the Festival Retail Park, Etruria
Statue of Lance Sergeant J. D. Baskeyfield at the Festival Retail Park, Etruria

Lance Sergeant J. D. Baskeyfield VC
In memory of the heroism of
Lance Sergeant J. D. Baskeyfield VC
Born in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent 18th November 1922
Killed during the battle of Arnhem 20th September 1944

The Battle of Arnhem is the name generally given to the fighting in and around the city of Arnhem in the Netherlands from the 17-25 September 1944.

In World War II, during Operation Market Garden (September 1944), the British 1st Airborne Division and the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade were given the task of securing the bridge at Arnhem.

During the Battle at Arnhem, Lance Sgt. Baskeyfield (2nd Bt. South Staffordshire Reg.) with all his crew dead or wounded, he continued to man the the 6-pounder alone, until it was put out of action, he then crawled (with a shattered leg) to another undamaged 6-pounder and fired two shots knocking out an advancing self-propelled gun, seconds later he was killed. He was awarded, posthumously, the Victoria Cross.

Lance-Sergeant John Daniel Baskeyfield
The South Staffordshire Regiment
1st Airborne Division
Missing in action


"On 20th September, 1944, during the battle for Arnhem, Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield was the NCO in charge of a six-pounder anti-tank gun at Oosterbeek.

The enemy developed a major attack on this sector with infantry, tanks and self-propelled guns with the obvious intent to break into and over-run the battalion position. During the early stage of the action the crew commanded by this NCO was responsible for the destruction of two Tiger tanks and at least one self-propelled gun, thanks to the coolness and daring of this NCO who, with complete disregard for his own safety, allowed each tank to come well within 100 yards of his gun before opening fire.

In the course of this preliminary engagement Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield was badly wounded in the leg and the remainder of his crew were either killed or badly wounded. During the brief respite after this engagement Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield refused to be carried to the regimental aid post and spent his time attending to his gun and shouting encouragement to his comrades in neighbouring trenches. After a short interval the enemy renewed the attack with even greater ferocity than before, under cover of intense mortar and shell fire. Manning his gun quite alone, Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield continued to fire round after round at the enemy until his gun was put out of action.

By this time his activity was the main factor in keeping the enemy tanks at bay. The fact that the surviving men in his vicinity were held together and kept in action was undoubtedly due to his magnificent example and outstanding courage. Time after time enemy attacks were launched and driven off. Finally, when his gun was knocked out, Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield crawled, under intense enemy fire to another six-pounder nearby, the crew of which had been killed, and proceeded to man it single-handed. With his gun he engaged an enemy self-propelled gun which was approaching to attack. Another soldier crawled across the open ground to assist him but was killed almost at once. Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield succeeded in firing two rounds at the self-propelled gun, scoring one direct hit which rendered it ineffective. Whilst preparing to fire a third shot, however, he was killed by a shell from a supporting enemy tank. He was 22 years old.

The superb gallantry of this NCO is beyond praise. During the remaining days at Arnhem stories of his valor 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 characterized his actions throughout."

contents: 2009 photos