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Canning Town war hero remembered a century on with Cenotaph stone

PUBLISHED: 14:32 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:32 28 March 2018

The special commemorative ceremony to honour the date that Lieutenant Bernard Cassidy was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The special commemorative ceremony to honour the date that Lieutenant Bernard Cassidy was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Archant

A soldier from Canning Town who was awarded the Victoria Cross after being killed in action in the final months of the First World War has been remembered a century on.

Mayor Sir Robin Wales and the nephew of Lt Cassidy, Derek Cassidy, unveiling the plaqueMayor Sir Robin Wales and the nephew of Lt Cassidy, Derek Cassidy, unveiling the plaque

Lieutenant Bernard Cassidy was killed at Fampoux, near Arras in the north of France, on March 28, 1918, when the German forces attacked the British and French lines.

Lt Cassidy, of the 2nd Battallion, Lancashire Fusiliers, was ordered to hold the British position at all costs, and managed to rally and encourage his men despite heavy bombardment, fighting on until he was eventually surrounded and killed.

His body was never recovered, and his Victoria Cross medal was presented to his mother Julia at Buckingham Palace in June 1918.

The brave soldier’s actions were remembered this morning with a ceremony at the East Ham Cenotaph, where a stone was laid in his honour.

The special commemorative ceremony to honour the date that Lieutenant Bernard Cassidy was awarded the Victoria Cross.The special commemorative ceremony to honour the date that Lieutenant Bernard Cassidy was awarded the Victoria Cross.

It was attended by Sir Robin Wales and the nephew of Lt Cassidy, Derek Cassidy, who gave speeches and unveiled the plaque in a rainy Central Park.

The service, which was led by Rev Fred Ashford-Okai, also included the laying of poppy wreaths in remembrance of Lt Cassidy.

The commemorative stone is not the only recogniton of Lt Cassidy in Newham - Bernard Cassidy Street in Canning Town, at the back of Rokeby School, was named in his honour.

Lt Cassidy was born in Canning Town in August 1892, one of six children born to Bernard and Julia Cassidy - with all five of their sons signing up to serve their country.

The special commemorative ceremony to honour the date that Lieutenant Bernard Cassidy was awarded the Victoria Cross.The special commemorative ceremony to honour the date that Lieutenant Bernard Cassidy was awarded the Victoria Cross.

One of Lt Cassidy’s brothers, John, also proved to be a war hero, being awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty due to his actions in carrying back soldiers wounded at Masnieres, northern France, in November 1917.

Lt Cassidy is the fifth and final Victoria Cross hero from Newham to be remembered with a memorial stone, laid near the Cenotaph 100 years on from their brave deeds during the First World War.

He joins Jack Cornwell, George Drewry, Harold Mugford and Edgar Myles in being honoured in this way.

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