First commemorative stone honouring Newham’s World War I heroes to be unveiled

20 April 2015 in Events and Mayor
The first commemorative stone marking the courageous actions that earned five people from Newham the Victoria Cross during World War I is to be unveiled next week.
The stone honouring Midshipman George L. Drewry from Forest Gate will be laid at the Central Park Cenotaph, East Ham, in a special ceremony at 10.30am on Monday 27 April. The unveiling will be carried out by the Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales and Cadet Vidas Tinteris of Newham Cornwell VC Sea Cadets.

The Victoria Cross is the highest award for gallantry a member of the British and Commonwealth military services can achieve.

The event is part of the council’s centenary commemorations to honour those from the borough who received the medal during the conflict of 1914-1918.
The individual stones will be unveiled around the 100th anniversary of the date of the act of bravery they received their award for.

Midshipman Drewry was the first person from Newham to be awarded the Victoria Cross, following his actions during the Gallipoli landings on 25 April 1915.

Under heavy fire he helped his commander secure barges to act as a bridge from the SS River Clyde allowing soldiers to reach the shore as part of the landings on V Beach, Seddul Bahr, Gallipoli. He swam from barge to barge to secure them despite being wounded on the head by a shell fragment.

Midshipman Charles Perrett, of HMS President, will provide the Victoria Cross citation at the event and the chaplain of the Newham Cornwall VC Sea Cadets The Reverend Fred Ashford-Okai will bless the stone.

Members of the public are invited to attend the ceremony, which will be attended by school children from across the borough and representatives from The Rifles, G Company Battalion.

The Honorary Vice Admiral The Lord Sterling of Plaistow CBE; the Queen’s Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Newham, John Barber; Newham Council’s Chief Executive Kim Bromley-Derry and Councillor Ian Corbett, mayoral advisor for Environment and Leisure, and will also be at the event.

Sir Robin said: “It is only right that we mark the selfless actions of Midshipman Drewry and those of all of Newham’s heroic servicemen whose acts of bravery saw them receive the Victoria Cross during World War 1.

“These memorial stones will act as a permanent reminder of their courage and how proud Newham is of their actions.”