Honour our war heroes

North Derbyshire VC winner Fred Greaves
North Derbyshire VC winner Fred Greaves
0
Have your say

FEW villages have produced so many heroes.

Killamarsh was home to two of the bravest servicemen who ever lifted a rifle.

Dozens of others have put their lives on the line for their country.

And yet there is no memorial in the village for people to gather to pay their respects to their brave fellow villagers.

But that could all be about to change.

People in the village - which was home to Corporal Fred Greaves, the first man in Derbyshire to be awarded the VC, and Corporal Liam Riley, who lost his life in Afghanistan - are hoping to put up a memorial in High Street to all those who have served the country.

The campaign aims to raise enough funds to give the people of Killamarsh somewhere to gather to remember those who laid down their lives in the First and Second World Wars and conflicts which have followed.

Liam died at the age of 21 in Helmund Province as he tried to save a dying comrade. He has since been mentioned in dispatches for his bravery.

Fred, born in Killamarsh in 1890, was aged 27 when he was an acting corporal in the 9th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters, at Poelcapelle, east of Ypres, Belgium in World War One.

The platoon was held up by machine-gun fire from a concrete stronghold and the commander and sergeant were both hit.

Fred, followed by another NCO, rushed forward, reached the rear of the building and bombed the occupants, killing or capturing the garrison and the machine-gun.

Later, at a most critical period of the battle, during a heavy counter-attack, all the officers of the company were casualties.

Fred collected his men, threw out extra posts on the threatened flank and opened up rifle and machine-gun fire so saving the platoon from slaughter. He died in June 1973 at the age of 83.

Liam’s mum Cheryl Routledge, who lives in Killamarsh, is backing the campaign to remember all those who served their country so bravely..

She said: “The aim of the campaign is to raise money for a memorial cenotaph in Killamarsh in time for Remembrance Sunday this year.

“People in Killamarsh were dismayed last year that unlike neighbouring communities like Beighton, Eckington and Halfway we don’t have a war memorial marking the sacrifice of all servicemen and women.

“We aim to keep it free of council funds, which in the current climate it just can’t afford.

“It has been commented that if every person in the village donated just £1, we would have enough.

“We would like to invite the people of Killamarsh to come forward and make donations no matter how small to remember their local heroes.”

n Anyone who would like to make a donation should contact Cheryl at cherylroutledge@gmail.com or write to Coun William Rice, 1 Musard Way, Killamarsh, Derbyshire S21 1HJ.