A SPECIAL memorial service is being held to mark the 100th anniversary of the heroic actions of a soldier, which earned him a posthumous Victoria Cross.

Private Herbert Columbine bravely fought off advancing German troops at Hervilly Wood, in France, on March 22, 1918.

He took command of a Vickers machine gun and kept the enemy soldiers at bay for hours - eventually sacrificing his own life so his colleagues could escape.

He was just 24 when he died.

Details of Pvt Columbine's bravery were revealed when he was posthumously awarded the UK’s highest military decoration for valour.

He had kept firing at the Germans from 9am to 1pm from his isolated gun position, despite having no barbed wire in front to protect him.

Eventually enemy soldiers managed to get into the trench.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • HERO - Private Herbert Columbine

Pvt Columbine told the two men with him to retreat, but instead of saving his own life he continued to fire at the enemy until he was finally killed by a bomb.

The Royal British Legion has organised a memorial service in Pvt Columbine's honour on the centenary of his death.

It will take place on Walton seafront by the life-size bronze statue of the soldier, which was unveiled in 2014.

The memorial service is due to take place at 10.45am on March 22.