Blue Plaque unveiled in Co Tyrone in honour of Victoria Cross hero

John Alexander Sinton worked on despite being shot in both arms
John Alexander Sinton worked on despite being shot in both arms

A Blue Plaque has been unveiled in Co Tyrone to commemorate a military doctor who was awarded the Victoria Cross for attending to the wounded under heavy fire – despite being shot in both arms and the side.

John Alexander Sinton VC, FRS (1884-1956) was awarded the honour for conspicuous bravery on January 21 1916 in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) where he attended to the wounded until nightfall.

His citation read: “For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. Although shot through both arms and through the side, he refused to go to hospital, and remained as long as daylight lasted, attending to his duties under very heavy fire. In three previous actions Captain Sinton displayed the utmost bravery.”

The Ulster History Circle Blue Plaque was unveiled yesterday at Lissan Parish Church in Churchtown, Cookstown by his grandson, Nial Watson – exactly 61 years to the date of his grandfather’s funeral.

Also present were descendants of two other VC recipients, Leonard Quigg, great nephew of Sgt Robert Quigg VC, and Nigel McFadzean, great nephew of Private William F McFadzean VC.

Chris Spurr, chairman of the Ulster History Circle, noted that Brigadier Sinton was a unique historical figure, having been “the only person ever to receive the highest award for gallantry, the Victoria Cross, and also to be elected Fellow of the Royal Society”.

Apart from his military career, Brigadier Sinton also achieved international pre-eminence as a malariologist and published over 200 scientific papers, many of them about malaria.

He died at his home near Cookstown in 1956 and was buried with full military honours at Claggan Presbyterian cemetery in Cookstown.