THE annual graveside ceremony to commemorate the only holder of the Victoria Cross to be buried in Darlington will be held tomorrow at noon.

Sergeant Michael "Spud" Murphy was awarded the VC in 1858 for his heroics serving under Sir Henry Havelock, of Sunderland and Blackwell Grange, during the Indian Mutiny.

In 1872, Sgt Murphy was caught stealing oats and hay from the Army stores. He was sentenced to nine months hard labour, stripped of his rank and his pension, ordered to forfeit his VC, and his wife and child were turned out of military accommodation.

He sought assistance from Sir Henry's family who found him work and a cottage at Blackwell, and persuaded the British Government to restore his pension.

He died of pneumonia on April 4, 1893, and is buried in North Cemetery, Darlington - where tomorrow's military service will be held. In 1920, King George V reinstated Sgt Murphy's VC.