HRH Prince William has paid tribute to servicemen who were awarded the Victoria Cross in the First World War. The Duke of Cambridge laid a wreath and unveiled a number of memorial stones during a special service at Birmingham’s Hall of Memory. The ten stones are the first of a total of 627 commissioned by the Government. Over the course of five years, the stones will be laid around the British Isles to honour the VC recipients in their hometowns and communities.
After laying the wreath and a hand-written message, William stayed to chat to the families of some of the honoured servicemen.
Private Arthur Vickers won the VC after braving a “firestorm” of bullets and shells to cut through barbed wire that had halted his battalion. Pte Vickers, from Aston, survived the First World War and died in 1944.
His great-nephew, Alan Vickers, was one of those who chatted to the Prince. He said: "The memorial means everything to the family but it's also a recognition of Birmingham as well.”
Brigadier Robin Anderson-Brown, the head of the Army in the West Midlands, also spoke after the ceremony. He said of the ten honoured heroes: "These were brave men from a remarkable generation that endured great hardships wherever they served. It is a huge honour to be able to celebrate their lives and status as Victoria Cross recipients together with their relatives.
"The ten men who we remember today are among 627 Victoria Cross recipients of the Great War. They are testament to the fighting spirit and prowess in battle of those from this great city, a tradition that continues today with significant numbers of our armed forces coming from Birmingham and the West Midlands region."