September 7th, 2018

Commemorative event and service held at Silverwood’s Park

Monday 7th September 2018

The dedication of a new road name to commemorate a Kidderminster soldier who was awarded the Victoria Cross was today unveiled at Silverwood’s Park in memory of Private John Francis Young VC who was born and brought up in Kidderminster. It was co-ordinated by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as part of a national programme to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

Councillor Stephen Williams, Chairman of Wyre Forest District Council announced the new road dedication at a special ceremony and unveiling onsite.

Members of the public were invited to attend the ceremony which was attended by local dignitaries and veterans’ organisations as well as representatives of the Canadian High Commission and the Canadian Grenadier Guards.

Private Young won the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest decoration for gallantry in the face of the enemy, while serving with the 87th Battalion, Quebec Regiment (Canadian Grenadier Guards) of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

On 2 September 1918, Private Young showed conspicuous bravery in tending the wounded in the open while under fire, and “continued to show the greatest valour and devotion to duty” throughout operations from 2 to 4 September.

During the event, three other soldiers who were awarded the Victoria Cross were also commemorated with roads on the development named after them, these included:

Lawrence Grove – named after Sergeant Brian Turner Tom Lawrence, 17th Lancers who was born in Bewdley and was a pupil at King Charles 1st Grammar School in Kidderminster. He earned the Victoria Cross during the Boer War on 7th August 1900. Lawrence later served with distinction in the First World War and was commissioned, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the 18th Royal Hussars.

Jotham Close – named after Captain Eustace Jotham, 51st Sikhs. He was born in Kidderminster and educated at Bromsgrove School before entering Sandhurst. Jotham won the Victoria Cross through his self-sacrifice on the North West Frontier of India on 7th January 1915.

Felix Baxter Drive – named after Second Lieutenant Edward Felix Baxter, 8th Battalion of The King's Liverpool Regiment. He was born in Stourbridge, but his family moved first to Hartlebury and later to Shrubbery Street, Kidderminster. Baxter earned the Victoria Cross for his bravery during a night-time trench raid on 17/18 April 1916 near Blairville in France.

Councillor Stephen Williams said: “It was a great honour for me to unveil the new road name dedications to commemorate the centenary of the remarkable heroism of these soldiers from Kidderminster”

Silverwoods is the former British Sugar site and extends to some 72 acres. It has been regenerated over several years by St Francis Group and now comprises a vibrant mixed-use community.

For further information about Silverwoods visit: http://silverwoodslife.co.uk