Beds, Herts & Bucks

Beaconsfield and Guildford remember WW1 hero

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Media captionCaptain Francis Grenfell was honoured in Guildford on Sunday

A compromise between two towns wanting to salute a World War One hero they had links with has seen the soldier receive the first of two posthumous honours.

A centenary slab commemorating Victoria Cross (VC) recipient Francis Grenfell was laid earlier in his birthplace of Guildford, Surrey.

In November, a duplicate stone will be laid in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, where he moved, aged seven.

Captain Grenfell was awarded his VC within the first month of the war.

The ceremony in Guildford High Street was attended by 24 members of the Grenfell family and nine members of the soldier's 9th/12th Lancers Prince of Wales's Regiment, to whom he left his medals.

Beaconsfield's mayor Steve Jones, who attended the ceremony, said: "The Grenfell family had such a strong association with Beaconsfield.

"We recognise he was not born here but much of his life was spent here."

Image copyright Neil Sherlock
Image caption The captain was killed at Ypres, less than a year after he was awarded his VC

The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for gallantry and valour in the face of the enemy.

The birth places of all VC medal recipients are getting free stones from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to mark the World War One centenary.

Capt Grenfell was the first officer to receive a VC during World War One. It was awarded for his actions in helping to save guns during the Action of Elouges at Audregnies, Belgium, on 24 August 1914.

He was killed in action in Ypres on 24 May 1915, aged 34.

Guildford Borough Council was approached to ask if it would give up its right to the stone but wanted to keep it.

Beaconsfield Town Council is to spend about £300 on a duplicate, to be laid near the town's war memorial on 9 November, Remembrance Sunday.

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