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Green plaque honour for war hero surgeon

John Cridlan Barrett showed outstanding bravery in final weeks of conflict

Picture of soldier John Barrett

A Leicestershire Regiment soldier, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery and went on to be a leading surgeon, is to be honoured with a county council green plaque next week (Thursday, March 12). 

A lieutenant at just 21, John Cridlan Barrett was recognised for his bravery after leading an attack on enemy positions at Pontruet in France, just three weeks before the end of the First World War.

Despite being severely wounded, he led his men in a charge on a trench, attacking the garrison and disposing of two machine guns before fixing his position to locate the enemy and issuing instructions to allow his men to reach safety.

The war hero, who earned a scholarship to St Thomas's Hospital in London in 1916, resumed his studies at the end of the conflict and qualified as a surgeon in 1924.

He worked as a surgeon at Leicester Royal Infirmary from 1929 until 1962 and was a member of the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons from 1958 to 1966.

He also continued his military service in the Territorial Army, where he climbed the ranks of the 5th Battalion, The Leicestershire Regiment to attain the rank of Colonel. He was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire in 1950. He died in 1977 at the age of 80.

Colonel Barrett has been nominated for the green plaque by Captain Robert Allen MBE, of the Royal Tigers’ Association.

He said: "Judged by any criteria, Barrett’s wide contribution to Leicestershire was unique. It would be most fitting to award a green plaque in honour of this unique and outstanding medical and military man.”

The green plaque unveiling takes place on Thursday, 12 March on the site of the former Glen Parva barracks in Wigston.  The barracks were the home of The Leicestershire Regiment – which later became the Royal Leicestershire Regiment – between 1881 and 1960.

Colonel Barratt was a remarkable and outstandingly brave man, whose whole life was dedicated to service, both in the military and through medicine."

More information on the green plaque scheme can be found by visiting


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