THE Border Regiment was awarded five Victoria Crosses during the course of the First World War.

Among the recipients was James Alexander Smith (1881-1968) of Workington, and Abraham Acton (1893-1915), from Whitehaven, who both gained Britain’s highest military honour for their gallantry while fighting together at Rouges Bancs, France on December 21, 1914.

Smith, 33, and Acton, 22, who were both privates, went out voluntarily from their trench and rescued a wounded man, who had been lying exposed against the enemy’s trenches for 15 hours.

On the same day, they again left their trench under heavy fire to bring in another wounded man.

They were under fire for 60 minutes while conveying the wounded men to safety.

Smith survived the war and lived to the age of 87.

Acton was killed in action at Festubert, France, on May 16, 1915, but his body was never found — he is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial.