WHEN Sam Meekosha returned from the war, in January 1919, he appeared on the front page of the Bradford Weekly Telegraph, hailed the city's hero. "Bradford Man of the Week" said the headline above his photograph.

Inside were more photographs, taken at his home in Tennent Street, West Bowling. On the step outside, he's pictured with a pipe, his rifle held by his younger sister, Eleanor. In the kitchen he's photographed sitting in a rocking chair by the range, with Eleanor, his mother and other sister, Mary.

News of his return had spread among friends and neighbours - Sam is pictured shaking hands with four men outside his house, and in another he and his mother stand with a local priest and the headmaster of St Joseph's School, where Sam had been a pupil.

It was Sam's actions in a trench at Yser, France, during relentless fire, that gave him such a high profile homecoming. Awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military honour, for his bravery, he became known as "Bradford's VC Hero". But Sam, a modest man, was a reluctant hero and ended up changing his name to avoid recognition.

Born in Leeds to a Polish father and English mother, Sam moved to Bradford as a baby. His parents were well known tailors in the city. Sam was at Bradford Technical College when the First World War broke out, and he joined the 1st/6th Battalion, West Yorks Regiment.

He was 22 and a corporal when, on November 19, 1915, near Yser, France, he was with a platoon of 20 non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and men holding an isolated trench known as 'Pump Room'. During a heavy bombardment, six of the platoon were killed and seven wounded. The rest were partially buried alive in the mud. With no senior NCOs left in action, Samuel took command; he sent for help and, despite more shells falling within yards of him, continued to dig out the wounded and buried men in full view and at close range of the Germans. His courage saved at least four lives.

He was helped by three other Bradford servicemen, Privates Edgar Wilkinson, Eli Johnston and Joseph Sayers, who were all awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Sam, who returned from the front in 1916 to marry his fiancee, Bertha, was promoted to Lieutenant in 1918 then Captain. Before the war ended he was shot in the right wrist and left temple.

Back home in Bradford, he stepped into a flurry of flashbulbs and found himself being stopped in the street by admirers.

In 1940 Sam re-joined the West Yorkshire Regiment as Captain, to serve in the Second World War. When he transferred to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, where he was later promoted to Major, he found himself once again recognised as 'Bradford's VC Hero'. With Britain at war with Germany again, there was a huge resurgence of interest and praise from strangers. To avoid the limelight further, Sam changed his name by deed poll, to Ingham, taken from his mother's maiden name, Cunningham.

"He was a very modest man. He didn't like the attention," says Sam's great great nephew, Nik Bennett. "It was different back then; men came home from war and were expected to just take up their lives again. They weren't encouraged to talk about their experiences. As far as he was concerned, he was saving his friends that day in the trench. When he came home, perhaps partly because his name was quite unusual and people remembered it more, he got lots of attention. He didn't want the adulation."

Sam transferred to the Corps of Military Accountants in 1919 and retired in 1926. He lived in Great Horton before moving to Wales and died in 1950, aged 57, at his home in Monmouthshire.

Nik grew up listening to stories about the family VC hero. His grandma, Eleanor Freer, 92, of Barkerend remembers Sam, her uncle, as a quiet, modest man. "She is very proud of him," says Nik. "She says he was shy and didn't talk much. He got multiple sclerosis in his 50s; it seems terrible for a man to have gone through so much, serving in two world wars, to end his days like that."

Sam's VC was auctioned at Sotheby's in 2001 and sold to a private collector for more than £100,000. Today a memorial to him stands in Bradford. On November 19, 2015, a century after Sam's heroic actions, his descendants joined council figures at the memorial to honour him. Some of Sam's family travelled over from Canada for the service.

* Sam Meekosha was one of four soldiers with a Bradford connection to win the Victoria Cross.

Second-Lieutenant Thomas Harold Broadbent Maufe, of the 124th Siege Battery, the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA), was a 19-year-old officer when, on June 4, 1914 at Feuchy in France, he "on his own initiative repaired, unaided, the telephone line between the forward and rear positions, thereby enabling his battery immediately to open fire on the enemy."

The young soldier also averted a possible catastrophe by extinguishing a fire in an advanced ammunition dump, caused by an explosion, regardless of the risk of being afflicted by gas shells he knew were in the dump.

A non-commissioned officer who witnessed Maufe's gallantry under fire told a journalist: "It is not pleasant work repairing a telephone wire when you are liable to be blown sky-high at any minute by the force of the violent explosions from high explosive shells, to say nothing of the danger of bursting shrapnel...

"The second deed performed by the lieutenant was more heroic still. Somebody brought word that a great ammunition dump had caught fire. There wasn't much time to be lost. To go near at all was dangerous, for at any minute the stacks of gas shells were liable to be set going, and all who were within reach could count on being blown to bits or choked by gas.

"Lieutenant Maufe ran to the spot at once, and regardless of any danger to himself, got to work, putting out the fire. There were frequent explosions, but he went on with his work until the fire was completely out and the shell stacks were safe.

"By that time he was as black as a sweep. He just walked back to his post and washed himself before reporting for duty as though putting out fires of this kind were an everyday incident of duty at the front."

Thomas was from Ilkley's remarkable Maufe family. Their forebears were called Muff; Thomas Parkinson Muff and Henry Brown were co-founders of Bradford's much-loved Brown Muff department store.

After the war, Thomas Maufe returned to Cambridge to complete his degree and in 1932, he married Gwendolen Carr in Ilkley. By this time he had become a director of Brown Muffs. In the Second World War, he served with the 28th West Riding (Otley) Battalion of the Home Guard. While training men on Blubberhouses Moor in March, 1942, he lost his life, aged 43, to a misfiring trench mortar on farmland. He is buried in Ilkley cemetery.

Bradford-born private George William Chafer, known as Bill, served in the 1st battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment. On June 4, 1916, east of Meaulte, on the Somme, he retrieved an important message from another soldier who had been partly buried and knocked unconscious by an exploding shell. Having removed the written message from the soldier’s pocket, Chafer made his way along a ruined parapet. Wounded and partly disabled by gas, he made his way through German shell and machine-gun fire to reach his objective.

Second Lieutenant Donald Simpson Bell made his name with Bradford Park Avenue. On the Somme on July 5, 1916, he charged a German machine-gun post and single-handedly destroyed it with a hand grenade and a pistol. Five days later he was killed by machine-gun fire.