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Tuesday 9 October 2012

Memorial stone laid for Royal Engineers

Alvaston 7

Six Royal Engineers who were blown up in the Second World War have been honoured with a permanent memorial stone.

Members of the Royal Engineers Association, Crewe Branch, serving members of the Armed Forces, the Royal British Legion and Council representatives joined together on Sunday morning for an hour-long memorial service at Alvaston Hall.

A two-minute silence marked the lives of Sergeant Edward Greengrass, Sapper Harold Thompson, Sapper Michael Lambert, Sapper George Lucas, Sapper John Perrins and Sapper Albert Edward Fearon.

The heroes died while defusing the fourth German bomb to fall on fields near Alvaston Hall between Crewe and Nantwich, in 1940, saving many lives.

The nephew of Sapper Fearon, George Horton, 76, was present for the emotional service held.

Mr Horton, who travelled from Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire, said: “I whole-heartedly thank Cheshire East Council for taking the time to track me down, as being present at the service meant so much to me. I am very proud of Uncle Albert and his actions to save the lives of others.”

Cheshire East Council had made an appeal to trace family members of the six men in the eighteen month lead-up to the memorial service.

Mr Horton was traced and found to have served in the Army for 26 years, nine of those as a bomb disposal engineer just like this uncle.

Cheshire East Council Mayor, Councillor George Walton, whose Chaplain led the service, said: “This was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the sacrifice these men made for their country and is timely with what is happing out in Afghanistan right now.

“No one can truly understand how terrifying their role was and how utterly selfless and brave they had to be and, for that, we pay homage to them.

“Their legacy lives on, generations after they have gone and for that we will always be grateful.

“We are also very grateful to staff at Alvaston Hall who agreed to have the memorial stone built in their beautiful gardens.

“It has been a real privilege to work with the Crewe branch of the Royal Engineers Association to create this memorial.”

Council Leader, Councillor Michael Jones, added: “Cheshire East Council believes the country’s Armed Forces should be supported and remembered for their brave actions to protect the security of this country.

“The idea to build a memorial stone came from our Deputy Mayor, Councillor Dorothy Flude and Councillor Chris Thorley, who were passionate in their quest to remember these fallen men.

“These men represent all that is honourable about our Armed Forces, who carry out an incredibly challenging role.”

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Thompson, Lambert, Fearon and Lucas were killed instantly and Sergeant Greengrass died two days later in hospital. Sapper Perrins died on August 18, suggesting he also died later in hospital.

Sgt Greengrass is buried at Wandsworth, London; Sapper Thompson at Hornchurch, London; Sapper Lambert at Kensal Green, London; Sapper Fearon at Newcastle-upon-Tyne ; Sapper Lucas in Manchester and Sapper Perrins at Stand (All Saints) Churchyard in Whitefield Manchester.

The Council was originally given the name John Percival but a member of the public came forward with the correct name of John Perrins. This has been confirmed by Commonwealth War Graves Commission records.

Cheshire East would like anyone who may have any further information regarding these men to contact the Council on 01270 686012.

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