Victoria Cross war heroes graves to be restored

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Communities Secretary Eric Pickles yesterday announced that £100,000 will be put towards the restoration of the graves of First World War Victoria Cross heroes two of which belong to soldiers from Amber Valley.

The project aims to restore all of these graves in need of repair. Headstones will be cleaned or replaced so that the final resting place of those who received the highest military award for valour is a truly fitting tribute to their sacrifice.

Ten graves in the East Midlands will benefit from the funding, while five soldiers who were born in the region but are buried elsewhere in the UK will have their final resting place restored.

The Victoria Cross heroes whose graves will be restored are those of Sgt William Gregg, who was of the Rifle Brigade, born in Heanor, awarded the VC on 8 May 1918 and is buried in Heanor Crematorium and Gnr Charles Stone, of the Royal Field Artillery, born in Ripley, awarded the VC on 21 March 1918 and is buried in Belper Cemetery.

This new funding will give a significant boost to funds already being raised by the Victoria Cross Trust – a charitable organisation that works to ensure the graves of every Victoria Cross recipient are maintained.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

“An entire generation of men fought for Britain’s freedom in the First World War and all fought valiantly. But for hundreds of those men their bravery was of such an exceptional nature they were bestowed with the highest military award, the Victoria Cross.

“As these men were honoured then for their extreme bravery on the battlefields, they should be honoured still. That is why I am privileged to offer more than £100,000 towards this project to ensure that their final resting places are venerated memorials where communities can pay their respects and learn about their local heroes.

“This will make sure the graves of our Victoria Cross heroes become places to reflect on their selfless service to the nation. Alongside the creation of commemorative paving stones we will create a fitting tribute to honour these heroes.”