Heroic actions of Edgar Myles honoured with unveiling of commemorative stone

11 April 2016 in Events
Hundreds of people gathered at the Central Park Cenotaph, East Ham, today (11 April) to pay tribute to Second Lieutenant Edgar K Myles whose heroic actions saw him awarded the Victoria Cross during World War I.
L-R - Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry; Newham Council chief executive Kim Bromley-Derry; Deputy Mayor of Newham, Councillor Lester Hudson; Ian Newson who is a relative of Second Lieutenant Myles; Colonel John Grinstead; Mr Newson’s wife; The Reverend Fred Ashford-Okai
A commemorative stone was unveiled during a special ceremony marking the heroism of Second Lieutenant Myles, from East Ham, who was awarded a Victoria Cross (VC) for his efforts to relieve the town of Kut in Sanna-i-Yat, Mesopotamia, which was under siege on 9 April.

The VC is the highest award for gallantry a member of the British and Commonwealth military services can achieve. Today’s ceremony is part of Newham Council’s commitment to honour those from the borough who received the medal during the 1914-1918 conflict.

The event was also attended by Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry, of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, who is one of only two serving soldiers who have a VC.

The stone was unveiled by the Deputy Mayor of Newham, Councillor Lester Hudson, and Ian Newson who is a relative of Second Lieutenant Myles.

Bob Stokes, Poppy Appeal Organiser from the East Ham branch of the Royal British Legion provided the Victoria Cross citation and chaplain to the Royal British Legion, The Reverend Fred Ashford-Okai, blessed the stone.

Second Lieutenant Myles, born in 1894, joined the 8th Battalion of the Welsh Regiment at the age of 20. In April 1916 he fought with the Worcestershire Regiment Gallipoli campaign.

The following year, aged just 21, at Sanna-i-Yat he went out alone under heavy fire to assist wounded men lying in the open. In one instance while carrying an injured officer he was hit by enemy fire, but still managed to carry the man back to safety.

Councillor Hudson said: “It is so important we remember people who have died serving their country. We should not forget that while they did extraordinary things, they were ordinary people.

“As we remember the valour of people like Second Lieutenant Myles we should learn from them and continue to honour their endeavours even after a hundred years have passed. Their actions should act as an inspiration to us all and remind everyone that helping others in times of need is one of the greatest things we can do in our community.

“When he was in a terrifying situation this 21-year-old stepped up and put the safety of others above his own. We should continue to be proud of those who have previously or are currently serving in the armed forces. We truly respect and value their service on behalf of our country.”

Lance Sergeant Beharry said: “I am here representing the modern military and supporting the family as well. I want to show that the heroic efforts of Second Lieutenant Myles are still remembered and were not in vain.”

Schoolchildren and members of the public joined the special ceremony which was also attended by Colonel John Grinstead, Deputy Chief of Staff London District.

Wreathes were placed at the Central Park Cenotaph by Ian Newson; Cllr Lester Hudson; Mayoral advisor for environment and leisure Councillor Ian Corbett; The Queen’s Representative Lieutenant for Tower Hamlets, John Ludgate; and Lt Col Mark Jackson OBE, Trustee of the Mercian Regiment and Chairman of the Mercian Regiment Museum.