THE Prime Minister has paid tribute to the 145 servicemen from
overseas who received the Victoria Cross for their actions
alongside British armed forces during the First World War.
The Victoria Cross is Britain's highest award for valour in the
in the face of the enemy. To mark the centenary of the First World
War, the Government is laying commemorative paving stones in the
towns of the recipients' births.
The stones for the 145 recipients from foreign and Commonwealth
countries were laid last week at the National Memorial Arboretum in
Alrewas, in Staffordshire.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony on Thursday of last week, Mr
Cameron said: "Our friends from overseas served and died alongside
our own forces, and it is absolutely right that here, in our
National Memorial Arboretum, where so many great acts of courage
are commemorated, these paving stones should provide a permanent
memorial to heroes from 19 different countries whose bravery and
service won them the Victoria Cross.
"A century may have passed since these extraordinary acts; but
the courage of these men remains as encouraging and inspiring today
as it was back then. Today we write the names of these Victoria
Cross winners into the soil of our land. They may have been born
overseas; but they will have a home here for generations to
"They are heroes among heroes. Their legacy is our freedom.
Their courage is our inspiration. And their friendship is a gift
that we will treasure forever."
The title paving-slab was unveiled by Grenadian-born Sgt Johnson
Beharry, one of only six living Victoria Cross recipients. His
presence at the ceremony, he said, was "proof that what happened
100 years ago is still happening today", in terms of British armed
forces' recruiting from Commonwealth countries.
"In uniform, we are all one. There is no 'me' and there is no
'you'. There is a body of men moving forward, and we look after
each other, regardless of the colour of your skin or which country
you are from."
The Chaplain General to the Army, the Revd Dr David Coulter,
welcoming the "poignant" ceremony, said that it was right to
commemorate the individual acts of bravery, 100 years on. "These
things aren't for the Instagram," he said. "They are for ever."