The grave of a Grantham-born soldier who won the Victoria Cross in the First World War will be restored after the Government announced it will put £100,000 towards the restoration of final resting places of VC heroes.
LCpl Walter Parker, of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, fought at Gallipoli in 1915 and was buried in Stapleford, Nottinghamshire. He was born in 1881 in Agnes Street in Grantham where a blue plaque was placed to commemorate him in 2011.
Walter was decorated for his bravery in leading a party of stretcher-bearers to rescue injured soldiers despite heavy machine gun fire during the Gallipoli campaign. He was invalided out of the Marines in 1918, and returned to Stapleford. He died in 1936 as a result from his wounds and is buried in Stapleford Cemetery.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced the £100,000 boost towards the restoration of the UK graves of First World War Victoria Cross heroes this week. The project aims to restore all of those graves in need of repair. Headstones will be cleaned or replaced so that the final resting place of those who received the highest military award for valour is a truly fitting tribute to their sacrifice.
Ten graves in the East Midlands will benefit from the funding, while five soldiers who were born in the region but are buried elsewhere in the UK will have their final resting places restored.
This new funding will give a significant boost to funds already being raised by the Victoria Cross Trust – a charitable organisation that works to ensure the graves of every Victoria Cross recipient are maintained.
While some graves only require minor work, others have fallen into disrepair. Some headstones have become illegible, stones have crumbled away leaving them unstable and some are in danger of collapse.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “An entire generation of men fought for Britain’s freedom in the First World War and all fought valiantly. But for hundreds of those men their bravery was of such an exceptional nature they were bestowed with the highest military award, the Victoria Cross.
“As these men were honoured then for their extreme bravery on the battlefields, they should be honoured still. That is why I am privileged to offer more than £100,000 towards this project to ensure that their final resting places are venerated memorials where communities can pay their respects and learn about their local heroes.
“This will make sure the graves of our Victoria Cross heroes become places to reflect on their selfless service to the nation. Alongside the creation of commemorative paving stones we will create a fitting tribute to honour these heroes.”
This year is the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. Do you have any interesting stories about the war, with Grantham connections, which you want to share with the Journal? Call 01476 541439 or email firstname.lastname@example.org