Barnet commemorates First World War hero
A paving slab to commemorate First World War hero Captain Cyril Hubert Frisby 100 years after he received the Victoria Cross has been unveiled in New Barnet.
Captain Frisby was awarded the VC on 27 September 1918, for facing annihilating machine gun fire to capture a strategically important crossing over the Canal du Nord, northern France.
The paving slab has been laid close to the place where Captain Frisby was born – outside of what is now Head Start Day Nursery in Station Road, New Barnet. It was unveiled on Saturday (29 September) during a ceremony attended by the Worshipful Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Reuben Thompstone.
Mayor Thompstone said: “We are incredibly proud of the heroism of Captain Frisby. We are endlessly grateful for his selfless service to our country, and it was an honour to be part of this ceremony.”
Captain Frisby was aged 33, and served with the First Battalion Coldstream Guards, during the Battle of Canal du Nord – which lasted from 27 September to 1 October, 1918. On its first day, he climbed into the canal with two others, calling for volunteers to follow them and leading 12 men against a strong enemy machine gun post. The men – with two machine guns between them – came under point-blank fire from the post, which was beneath an old iron bridge across the canal.
Captain Frisby was wounded in the leg by a bayonet during the attack, but helped secure the Demicourt-Graincourt Road crossing over the Canal du Nord. He then went on to support a nearby company that had lost all its officers and sergeants. Captain Frisby organised its defences and helped soldiers see off a hostile counter attack.
After the war, he became know as Britain’s most famous tuna fisherman – capturing five tuna, including a 659-pound (299kg) specimen on one day in the 1930s. He worked as a stockbroker and had one son with his wife Audrey Grant before passing away aged 75 on 10 September 1961.
Captain Frisby’s paving slab is one of many funded by the Department for Culture and Local Government to commemorate soldiers who received a Victoria Cross during the First World War.