Brave bombardier came home to hero’s welcome

Chris Froggatt at the grave of charles Stone who was awarded the Victoria cross. Belper cemetary.

Chris Froggatt at the grave of charles Stone who was awarded the Victoria cross. Belper cemetary.

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With British World War One heroes set to be honoured by special memorial stones next year - A Heage man says it is time a courageous Denby soldier was better commemorated.

Last week the Government announced it is to give 28 specially commissioned stones to the councils in which winners of the Victoria Cross during the Great War were born. Amber Valley is sure to receive one next year.

But while a leisure centre is named after Heanor’s William Gregg VC - who was given the award for taking out an enemy machine gun post in Bucquoy, France in 1918 –the grave of Denby’s Charles Edwin Stone VC lies overgrown in the corner of Belper Cemetery.

In 1918, at Caponne Farm on the Western Front in France, Mr Stone saved a gun detachment by capturing a machine gun post. He was decorated at Buckingham Palace by King George V.

Now architect Chris Froggatt, 42, is calling on local authorities to consider erecting a more fitting monument to him to mark the centenary of 1914 to 1918 war next year.

He said: “When I located the grave I was shocked to see it was in a state of neglect and not maintained. I felt that this was a shame given his history and bravery.”

Chris’s interest in the subject came after researching his family tree in 2002. He realised his great grandfather Alexander, was a friend of Mr Stone VC, after locating a photo of the two men together. It is possible they worked the coal mines together.

Chris continued: “I feel Amber Valley or the parish councils should maintain his grave and erect a special memorial stone.”

To read more, grab a copy of next week’s Ripley and Heanor News, out Thursday, August 15.