8 Petteril Terrace – Home of Joseph Henry Collin VC
Joseph Henry Collin was born on 10th April, 1893 in Jarrow, County Durham, and later moved to Carlisle, living with his parents Joseph and Mary Collin at 8, Petteril Terrace, Harraby. Collin was educated at St. Patrick’s School, on Albert Street (now part of Georgian Way).
At the outbreak of war, Collin was 21 years old and was working as an Assistant Salesman at Hepworth & Sons, tailor on English Street. Like many of his fellow young men, Collin felt it his duty to sign up to the armed forces and in 1915 enlisted in the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.
After serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in France, and following promotion to Sergeant, Collin was selected for a commission by the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. He was posted to France in October 1917, serving as a 2nd Lieutenant to the 1/4th Battalion.
On 9 April 1918, the day before his 25th birthday, during extremely heavy fighting near Givenchy, Collin was killed in action. He was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for the following act of bravery in his final moments:-
“For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty and self-sacrifice in action.
After offering a long and gallant resistance against heavy odds in the Keep held by his platoon, this officer, with only five of his men remaining, slowly withdrew in the face of superior numbers, contesting every inch of the ground. The enemy were pressing him hard with bombs and machine-gun fire from close range. Single-handed 2nd Lieutenant Collin attacked the machine gun team. After firing his revolver into the enemy, he seized a Mills grenade and threw it into the hostile team, putting the gun out of action, killing four of the team and wounding two others. Observing a second hostile machine gun firing, he took a Lewis gun, and selecting a high point of vantage on the parapet whence he could engage the gun, he, unaided, kept the enemy at bay until he fell mortally wounded.
The heroic self-sacrifice of 2nd Lieutenant Collin was a magnificent example to all.”
2nd Lieutenant Joseph Henry Collin VC is buried in Vielle-Chapelle New Military Cemetery, France. In Carlisle his memory has been honoured by local schools competing for the ‘Collin Shield’. Collin Place, off Newtown Road was named in his memory and his name is listed on the Roman Catholic War Memorial, at Our Lady and St. Joseph’s, Warwick Road.