Sproxton church memorial unveiled to survivors of Second World War

Stanley Birch unveils the plaque dedicated to the survivors of World War Two in Sproxton.
Stanley Birch unveils the plaque dedicated to the survivors of World War Two in Sproxton.

A survivor of the Second World War unveiled a plaque in honour of those Sproxton villagers who served in the conflict and returned.

Stanley Birch is one of 17 
villagers whose names appear on the plaque which he unveiled in St Bartholomew’s Church on Sunday. Stanley served in the air force and spent some of his time in the war in 
India.

The idea of the plaque was that of Ray Bennett, 86, who was born in the village. He knew all the people whose names appear on the 
plaque. He still lives in Sproxton.

Ray, who was landlord of the local pub for many years after his father, said the service was well attended and most of the families of those who 
are on the plaque were represented.

The only other person on the plaque who is still alive, Jim Rudkin, sent a letter 
wishing everybody well as he was unable to attend. Jim 
was a glider pilot in the war. His glider crashed at Arnhem and he broke both his legs, 
but was saved by the Americans.

Ray said the service was ‘fantastic’. He added: “I am absolutely thrilled.”

A service was conducted by the Rev Brian McAvoy for the unveiling. The Last Post was also played and there were standard bearers from the Royal British Legion in Melton Mowbray.

The service was attended by about 90 people and afterwards a buffet was held in the village hall where people were able to share photos and reminisce. Ray was presented with a photo of the Dakota from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, signed by all the 
crew.

The names of those on the plaque are Frank Smith, Jim Rudkin, Jerry Payne, Jack Alexander, George Creasey, Stanley Birch, Tom Holland, Margaret Brewster, Earnest Lord, Cecil Birch, John Pulford, Les Fahy, Albert Pulford, Tom Northern, Ron Fahy, 
Tom Rayson and Sid Alexander.