First World War heroes to be commemorated 100 years on from receiving Victoria Cross
PUBLISHED: 16:38 16 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:33 17 August 2017
Archant Norfolk 2015
Two local First World War heroes will be honoured this month as commemorative stones are laid 100 years after they were awarded the highest military decoration, the Victoria Cross.
Sidney Day (1891-1959) of the 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment and Wilfred Edwards (1894-1972) of the 7th Battalion, The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry were both awarded the Victoria Cross in 1917 – aged just 26 and 24 years old.
Members of the public are invited to join The Lord Mayor of Norwich, David Fullman, and Bishop of Norwich, The Rt Rev Graham James, on Saturday August 26 for a ceremony where commemorative stones, to be laid in front of Norwich War Memorial, will be unveiled.
Mr Fullman said: “Everyone is welcome to attend this very poignant event. It is an opportunity to remember and honour those who fought for our country and show our deepest gratitude to their loved ones.”
Guests will arrive on St Peters Street to the stirring sounds of Norwich City Concert Band who will play patriotic music from 10.50am. Following a welcome by the Lord Mayor at 11am, the Bishop will give some opening words.
Michael Day, son of Sidney, will deliver a testimonial about his father and Neil Storey, local historian and author, will speak about the life and military career of Wilfred Edwards.
Wilfred Edwards was awarded the VC for his actions on August 16 1917 at Langemarck, Belgium.
When all the company officers were lost, Private Edwards, without hesitation and under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire from a strong concrete fort, dashed forward, bombed through the loopholes, surmounted the fort and waved to his company to advance.
On August 26 1917, east of Hargicourt, France, Corporal Day was in command of a bombing section detailed to clear a maze of trenches still held by the enemy. This he did, killing two machine gunners and taking four prisoners.
Immediately on his return to his section, a stick bomb fell into the trench occupied by two officers and three other ranks. Corporal Day seized the bomb and threw it over the trench, where it immediately exploded. This prompt action saved the lives of those in the trench.