World War One soldiers to be honoured again
Monday August 19, 2013
Three heroic Hammersmith & Fulham recipients of the prestigious Victoria Cross are to be honoured again with commemorative paving stones 100 years after the First World War.
All 454 British and Irish winners of the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration are at the heart of government plans to commemorate the centenary of the 1914 to 1918 Great War next year, it was announced last week.
More than 70 Londoners, who received the small bronze crosses for ‘valour in the face of the enemy’, will have commemorative paving stones laid in their home towns.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s deputy leader Councillor Greg Smith said: “This is a most fitting way to honour the immense contribution of local Victoria Cross recipients who displayed incredible bravery during the First World War. We look forward to creating a lasting memory for those who defended our nation in an hour of need.”
Local World War One Victoria Cross recipients
Corporal Edward Dwyer
Corporal Edward Dwyer (right) was just 19 years old when the Germans tried to reclaim the strategic advantage point of Hill 60 near Ypres, Belgium in April 1915.
Under a shower of grenade bombs, Dwyer climbed to the parapet of his trench to launch grenades back at the enemy, and earlier in the day he left his trench under heavy shell fire to bandage a wounded comrade.
Dwyer was later killed in action at Guillemont on September 4, 1916 during the Battle of the Somme, the war's bloodiest encounter in which one million soldiers were wounded or killed. His medal was presented to the Regimental Museum in 1962.
Sergeant Charles Edward Spackman
On 20 November 1917 at Marcoing, France, the leading company was checked by heavy fire from a gun mounted on a position which covered the approaches.
Sergeant Spackman, of the 1st Battalion, Border Regiment, realised that it would be impossible for the troops to advance and went through heavy fire to the gun, where he succeeded in killing all but one of the gun crew and then captured the gun.
Lance-Sergeant Frederick Palmer
In February 1917, Lance-Sergeant Palmer assumed command of his company when all his officers had become casualties north of Courcelette in France.
Having cut his way under point-blank fire, through wire entanglements, he dislodged an enemy machine-gun and established a "block". He then collected some other men and held the barricade for nearly three hours against seven determined counter-attacks. While he was fetching more bombs an eighth counter-attack was delivered, threatening the advance of the whole flank. At this critical moment, although suffering from extreme exhaustion, he rallied his men, drove back the enemy and maintained his position.
He later achieved the rank of Second Lieutenant. When his battalion was disbanded, he joined the RFC as an observer.
After the war, he went to Malaya, where he set up his own business. After the outbreak of the Second World War, he returned to England in 1940, arriving just in time for the Battle of Britain, and re-joined the Royal Air Force. He achieved the rank of Wing-Commander, and was mentioned in dispatches at the end of the war.