Forest Gate Victoria Cross war hero honoured by council
- Credit: Archant
One hundred years ago on Saturday a wounded Forest Gate man risked his own life to save others during the infamous Gallipoli landings.
Midshipman George L Drewry’s brave actions earned him the Victoria Cross.
Now, 100 years on, the First World War hero has been honoured in his home town after a commemorative stone was unveiled today.
The stone was laid at Central Park Cenotaph in East Ham by Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales and Cadet Vidas Tinteris of Newham Cornwell VC Sea Cadets.
It is the first of five stones which will be presented, as part of the council’s centenary commemorations, to mark the courageous actions that earned five people from Newham the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry a member of the British and Commonwealth military services can receive.
Midshipman Drewry was the first person from Newham to be presented with the prestigious award following his actions on April 25 1915.
Whilst under fire, he helped his commander to secure barges, which acted as a bridge, from the SS River Clyde.
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George swam from barge to barge in order to secure the boats, despite having a head wound caused by a shell fragment.
His actions allowed soldiers to reach the shore as part of the landing on V Beach in Seddul Bahr, Gallipoli.
George’s stone was unveiled on today as it is close to the 100th anniversary of the date of the act of bravery he received his award for.
Midshipman Charles Perrett of HMS President provided the Victoria Cross citation at the event and the chaplain of the Newham Cornwall VC Sea Cadets, the reverend Fred Ashford-Okai blessed the stone.
Other guests included Newham council’s chief executive Kim Bromley-Derry, mayoral advisor for environment and leisure Cllr Ian Corbett and John Barber, The Honorary Vice Admiral The Lord Sterling of Plaistow CBE and the Queen’s Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Newham.
Members of the public also attended the event to pay their respects, along with school children from across the borough and representatives from The Rifles, G Company Battalion.
Sir Robin Wales said: “It is only right that we mark the selfless actions of Midshipman Drewry and those of all of Newham’s heroic servicemen whose acts of bravery saw them receive the Victoria Cross during the First World War.
“These memorial stones will act as a permanent reminder of their courage and how proud Newham is of their actions.”
The Battle of Gallipoli took place between April 25 1915 and January 9 1916.
The area provided a sea route to the Russian Empire, one of the Allied powers.
Britain and France launched a naval attack followed by beach landings to try and secure the area.
However after eight months, the naval attack was repelled and the land attack was halted, resulting in huge casulties on both sides.