Victoria cross commemorative paving stone unveiling

05 March 2015

Thursday 5 March 2015

The Prime Minister David Cameron, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Communities Ministers Stephen Williams and Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon were in attendance at the National Memorial Arboretum today for a paving stone unveiling ceremony to commemorate the 145 overseas-born World War I recipients of the Victoria Cross.

As part of the Centenary commemorations of World War I the Department of Communities and Local Government will lay commemorative paving stones in the birth place of each Victoria Cross recipient, to honour their bravery and to provide a lasting legacy within the communities of their local heroes.

The Victoria Cross was introduced by 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War. The bronze Cross is cast from the metal of Russian guns captured at Sevastopol during the Crimean campaign. During World War I a total of 628 Victoria Crosses were awarded, 145 of these were awarded to servicemen born overseas, in 19 countries, who fought for Britain.  Sergeant Johnson Beharry VC unveiled the 146th title stone.

A national competition was held to design the commemorative paving stones, Charlie MacKeith, a London-based architect was the winner. His design features on the paving stones at both the Arboretum and around the UK.