Historians and residents of a Midland town are campaigning for one of its unsung heroes to be recognised for his part in the Battle of Trafalgar.
They also want the Government and Sandwell Council to protect naval hero James Eaton’s former home as a building of national importance for generations to come.
Eaton lived at Hill House, West Bromwich, after he had served alongside Nelson in the famous sea battle.
He was on aboard HMS Temeraire as signal midshipman and was the first person to pass on Nelson’s famous signal to the fleet: “England expects that every man will do his duty”.
Following his military service he settled at his home in West Bromwich’s Dagger Lane before his death in 1857, aged 71.
He is buried at nearby All Saints Church and in 2005, as part of the Trafalgar bicentenary celebrations, his memorial was rededicated. A street is also named after the former sailor and he was recognised by the town’s Royal Naval Association.
After Trafalgar Eaton was wounded while serving aboard HMS Lion as he took a convoy to China. He served at the capture of Java in 1811, and in 1813 distinguished himself while aboard HMS Beaver when he helped in the rescue of the crew of a Swedish vessel. He finally retired from the navy with the rank of commander in 1842.
He was subsequently awarded the Naval General Service Medal with two clasps for the actions he had served in during his naval career and retired to the Black Country.
Brenda Dearn posted on Facebook site West Bromwich People: “Hill House needs to be preserved because it has so much history.”
Another resident of Dagger Lane, said many old buildings in West Bromwich had been allowed to fall into disrepair and she did not want to see Hill House suffer the same fate.
“All too often our historic legacy is West Bromwich is allowed to disappear. Hill House is one of the few buildings left which has any historical significance so it is important that it receives protection in law.”