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Centenary service for Grantham soldier, a Victoria Cross recipient

Lance Corporal Walter Parker
Lance Corporal Walter Parker

A ceremony will mark the centenary of a Grantham soldier earning the highest military honour for valour during the First World War.

Lance Corporal Walter Parker was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for bravely crossing a 400-yard area swept by machine gun fire to take ammunition, water and supplies to an isolated trench while serving in Gallipoli, Turkey, on May 1, 1915.

A blue plaque dedicated to Lance Corporal Walter Parker.
A blue plaque dedicated to Lance Corporal Walter Parker.

The soldier, a member of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, Royal Marines, also gave assistance to the wounded and when the trench was finally evacuated early the next morning, he helped to remove and attend the casualties, although he himself was seriously wounded.

Now, 100 years to the day, a ceremony will mark his gallantry at St Wulfram’s Church on Friday, May 1 at 11am, led by Father Stuart Cradduck. The service will feature a blessing for the soldier ahead of a commemorative paving stone being unveiled.

The event is part of a national campaign to lay commemorative paving stones in the home towns of each of the 628 First World War VC recipients.

The stones aim to honour their bravery, provide a lasting legacy of local heroes within communities and enable residents to gain a greater understanding of how their area fitted into the war’s story.

Born in Grantham in 1881, Mr Parker was 33 when he was awarded the VC for his bravery in the field. The award also noted he had consistently displayed bravery and energy in the three previous days as commander of the battalion’s stretcher bearers, when almost every wounded man had to be evacuated over open ground and under fire.

Members of his family, including his granddaughter and great-grandson, have been invited to the ceremony. Deputy commandant general of the Royal Marines Brigadier Richard Spencer, uniformed officers and a bugler will also attend.

SKDC’s venues and facilities business manager Paul Stokes said: “The service will be a poignant moment in Grantham and South Kesteven remembering one of its local heroes from World War One. We hope the event will respectfully mark the huge courage he showed in duty a century ago.

“It reflects the height of the incredible spirit and bravery that thousands of men and women took in World War One to bravely fight for their country.”

Members of the public are welcome to attend the event but should notify SKDC so numbers can be catered for. Email pr@south
kesteven.gov.uk or call 01476 406080 by Monday, April 27.

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