A MEMORIAL has been unveiled to commemorate the life of a First World War hero – 100 years to the day since his death.

Sidney Woodroffe was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in battle at the Belgian village of Hooge near Ypres, where he was killed on July 30 1915.

The 19-year-old second lieutenant was mortally wounded as he led his men in a counter-attack in the face of intense German fire.

Contemporary reports detailed how the Lewes soldier defended his position against heavy bombardment from the flank and rear until all his bombs were exhausted. He then skilfully withdrew his remaining men.

He was killed in the action but his body was never recovered. His name is inscribed on the Menin Gate, near Ypres.

Two of his brothers, Kenneth and Leslie, also served and lost their lives in the war.

In a ceremony organised by East Sussex County Council, Lewes District Council and Lewes Town Council, and also attended by the Lewes MP Maria Caulfield, a memorial paving stone and plaque were unveiled outside Lewes Library in Friars Walk on Thursday.

It is part of a nationwide Government project to honour hundreds of First World War heroes awarded the Victoria Cross which is set to run until 2018.

Heroes from Brighton, Chichester, Seaford, Eastbourne and Haywards Heath are all to be recognised and remembered for their sacrifice before the end of the four year project.

Councillor Susan Murray, mayor of Lewes, said: “Sidney Woodroffe was a true hero, who showed incredible gallantry in leading his men in the face of a terrible onslaught from the enemy.

“This permanent memorial will ensure his name lives on for generations to come, and it’s most fitting that it should be unveiled in his home town on the centenary of his death with representatives from his regiment in attendance.”

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield said: "I was honoured to attend the unveiling of a memorial paving stone.

"It is important to never forget the huge sacrifices made on our behalf and the ceremony was certainly a moving reminder."