The story of a Northamptonshire farmer who became Britain’s ‘pill box hero’ has been told in a 150-page biography by a local historian.
A century ago, Capt Harry Reynolds won Britain’s highest award for bravery, the Victoria Cross, after single-handedly capturing a German strongpoint during one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War.
The book, by Anthea Hiscock of Whilton, reveals how Harry devoted much of his later life to helping mentally-damaged victims of the war.
Anthea, chair of the village history society, was the key organiser of recent local ‘celebration of courage’ events which involved dozens of villagers and schoolchildren in studies of the war and its aftermath.
Henry Reynolds was born at Whilton Locks and lived there for 30 years. He served in the Royal Scots regiment which lost thousands of men on the Western Front.
Noted for his modesty and managerial ability, after the war he became a full-time worker for the Ex-Servicemen’s Welfare Society, now the Combat Stress charity, often using his farming expertise to help shell-shocked men to cope.
Anthea’s meticulous research provides insights into many issues including changing attitudes to mental illness, loyalty and patriotism, the influence of the press and the role of women.
Thanks largely to her efforts the Harry Reynolds story will continue in 2018 – on June 1, the date he received the medal from the king at Buckingham Palace, there will be more commemorative events in the village, where a stone to him now stands on the green.