St Albans’ VC hero remembered forever by memorial stone

The family of WWI hero Private Warner are joined at the war memorial by mayor of St Albans cllr Geof

The family of WWI hero Private Warner are joined at the war memorial by mayor of St Albans cllr Geoff Harrison and members of Private Warners company to mark the laying of a special commemorative stone - Credit: Archant

Relatives of a First World War hero who successfully defended a trench from attack 100 years ago watched proudly as his valiant actions were immortalised in stone in St Albans city centre.

About 100 people attended an unveiling ceremony commemorating the heroic deeds of Private Edward Warner at the war memorial in St Peter’s Street.

Private Warner’s relatives, who travelled from Devon to witness the special occasion last Friday (1), helped unveil a Victoria Cross commemorative paving stone, along with members of his former regiment.

The soldier was awarded the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry after single-handedly entering a vacated trench after a gas attack to stop the enemy taking possession.

Unfortunately after his efforts on May 1, 1915, he died from the effects of gas poisoning.

Relative Rosemary Goodland said: “I heard stories about him from my mother all the time, and she told me about his Victoria Cross.

“This is a celebration, really, of his life and of all the others who lost their lives. This town should be very proud of him.

Most Read

“He was an ordinary lad who worked in a straw hat place and the Post Office before the war.”

Rosemary brought a photo showing her great-grandmother receiving the VC on Private Warner’s behalf from King George V.

Before the ceremony Private Warner’s family joined the Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Geoff Harrison, and dignitaries, including members of the St Albans branch of the Royal British Legion and police officers in a procession from St Peter’s churchyard to the war memorial.

Cllr Harrison said: “This is a very special event, in recognition of the deed he did during the First World War.”

The Rev Anne Hollinghurst of St Peter’s church paid tribute to ”this son of this city, who gave his life”.

Council workers and contractors spent hours sprucing up the memorial site for the occasion, which also saw pupils from Aboyne Lodge School, the nearest school to Private Warner’s home in Cannon Street, read a citation describing his act of bravery.