Duke and Duchess of Cambridge honour Manchester’s VC heroes

October 17, 2016

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge recently unveiled six memorial flagstones in Manchester, each in remembrance of a locally born soldier of World War One, each of whom had been awarded the Victoria Cross.

The Royal couple attended a short ceremony at the city’s war memorial in St Peter’s Square, near to Manchester Town Hall.

The Victoria Cross recipients were being remembered as part of the First World War Centenary commemorations. Representatives of each of the soldiers’ six families left commemorative wreaths during the ceremony.

The six being remembered were George Stringer VC, Albert Hill VC, Henry Kelly VC, John Readitt VC, John Thomas VC and Graham Lyall VC. Each was honoured by a representative of their antecedent Regiments; The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment – for two of the men – as well as The Mercian Regiment, The Royal Welsh, The Yorkshire Regiment and, for Graham Lyall, an officer of the Canadian Army which he served with having emigrated there.

Paul Davies, great grandson of John Readitt, was there to witness the ceremony, he said: “It meant a great deal that the Duke and Duchess could join us today. My great grandfather was a very quiet man who never spoke about the war. There are many who served but never got this sort of recognition so the whole family is very proud and honoured.”

As part of the Government’s First World War Centenary campaign, special paving stones are being laid in the hometowns of all those in the United Kingdom who were awarded the Victoria Cross.

Each stone is presented to the local authority responsible for the area where a recipient was born. The stones provide an enduring legacy of those who showed supreme courage, while helping today’s citizens better understand the war’s impact here at home.

The Manchester stones were laid at the city’s war memorial in St Peter’s Square, and an exhibition commemorating the six is now open nearby at the city’s Central Library.