First World War hero to be honoured with memorial stone
13th April 2017
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All are welcome to join the Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire Nigel Atkinson, the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Ranil Jayawardena MP and others for the unveiling of the memorial stone for Lance Corporal James Welch VC.  

Among the guests at the ceremony will be grandchildren and descendants of Lance Corporal Welch and retired members of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, in which he served.  

The stone will be unveiled exactly 100 years after the act of heroism for which he was awarded his Victoria Cross.  

During the Battle of Arras, on April 29, 1917, Welch entered a German trench and killed a German soldier after a hand-to-hand struggle, before chasing four others across the land and capturing them single-handedly.  

He then manned a machine gun for five hours before being wounded, even going into the open several times to collect ammunition and spare parts.  

After the war he moved to Sheffield and worked for a box factory until he retired and moved to Bournemouth with his wife Daisy, who he married in 1915.  

Ian Pearson, chairman of Stratfield Saye Parish Council, said: "The commemorative stone provides a lasting legacy to a local hero, and it is a fitting tribute to mark the centenary of the action.  

“Lance Corporal Welch was an ordinary soldier who, on that day in 1917, did an extraordinary thing, and exhibited gallantry worthy of the highest award. It is only right and proper we pay our tribute to him."  

The specially commissioned stone was presented to Stratfield Saye Parish Council as part of a national project organised by the Department for Communities and Local Government to give councils across the country stone memorials in areas where the Victoria Cross recipients lived, as a symbol of the centenary commemoration of the Great War.  

People will gather from 10.15am ahead of a procession at 10.45am on Saturday 29 April at New Street, Stratfield Saye. For more information, visit

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