England

WWI VC hero memorial stones unveiled in towns

Flt Sub Lt Warneford Image copyright AP
Image caption Flt Sub Lt Warneford was awarded the Victoria Cross for destroying a German zeppelin

Paving stones honouring the "heroic" actions of a decorated World War One pilot are to be unveiled.

Reginald "Rex" Warneford received the Victoria Cross (VC) after becoming the first British pilot to shoot down a German Zeppelin in 1915.

Memorials will be revealed in Exmouth, Devon, and Highworth, Wiltshire, towns connected to him and his family.

A school where he boarded in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, is also remembering his deeds with a plaque.

The government had previously decided to lay commemorative paving stones in the home towns of 480 British-born VC recipients, but Indian-born Warneford was excluded.

However, he lived in England at King Edward VI School, in Stratford-upon-Avon, and Highworth, for a time, as his family owned Warneford Place in Sevenhampton.

The Department for Communities and Local Government agreed to allow the stones to be laid after a campaign.

Image caption Highworth was one of the towns to unveil a stone in Reginald Warneford VC's honour

As well as the Victoria Cross, which is on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovil, Somerset, the French awarded him the Knight's Cross Legion d'Honneur.

The town of Exmouth adopted the war hero as its own and a flagstone will be laid there in the Strand Gardens.

Another stone will also be unveiled after a civic service in Highworth, Wiltshire.

One of Swindon's best-performing schools, Warneford Comprehensive in Highworth, is also named after him.

Warneford's niece, Faye Erskine, will unveil the commemorative stone at King Edward VI School's guildhall on Monday.

Headmaster Bennet Carr said: "This memorial will ensure that Rex's conspicuous bravery will be remembered for generations to come."

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