Tribute to First World War soldier Charles Sharpe unveiled in Bourne

A ceremony has marked the centenary of a Bourne soldier earning the'Victoria Cross during World War One with the laying of a commemorative 'stone. Photo: Jonathan Smith EMN-151105-181633001
A ceremony has marked the centenary of a Bourne soldier earning the'Victoria Cross during World War One with the laying of a commemorative 'stone. Photo: Jonathan Smith EMN-151105-181633001

The unveiling of a commemorative stone marked the centenary of a Bourne soldier earning the Victoria Cross during the First World War.

Acting Corporal Charles Sharpe was awarded the highest military decoration for valour for gallantly leading a blocking party to capture German trenches in a successful bombing exercise.

A commemorative stone for First World War soldier Charles Sharpe at the War Memorial in Bourne.

A commemorative stone for First World War soldier Charles Sharpe at the War Memorial in Bourne.

Over 100 years to the day, a ceremony held at Bourne War Memorial on Friday last week marked his endeavour.

More than 130 guests were at the special ceremony, including his grandchildren Chris Green and Richard Cooke, who unveiled the stone.

During the ceremony, Father Chris Atkinson gave a blessing of the stone which lies at the memorial in gardens he helped maintain following military service.

Former South Kesteven District Council leader Linda Neal welcomed guests to the ceremony before a response was read by Major David Falconer of The Royal Anglian Regiment and Mr Sharpe’s VC citation announced.

Major Ed Matts read the Lincolnshire Regiment Collect before Mr Ken Willows of the Regimental Association read the Homage and a Royal Anglian bugler sounded the Last Post followed by a two minutes silence.

Charles Sharpe, in the 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, was honoured for his bravery for securing territory beyond the operation’s aims as he took control of a further 250 yard trench during the Battle of Aubers Ridge in France on May 9, 1915.

The event was part of a national campaign to lay commemorative paving stones in the home towns of each of the 628 First World War Victoria Cross recipients.

The stones aim to honour their bravery, provide a lasting legacy of local heroes within communities and enable residents to gain a greater understanding of how their area fitted into the World War One story.

A Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories.

Born in Pickworth in 1889, Mr Sharpe was 26 when he was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in the field and his medal is held at the district council offices in Grantham.

Venues and facilities business manager at the council Paul Stokes said it was Bourne and the district’s chance to celebrate the courage of Corp Sharpe.

Mr Stokes added: “We wish to thank Mr Sharpe’s family, The Royal Anglian Regiment and all other military personnel who helped play their part in a very special event.

“The numbers that attended reflected the heartfelt feelings towards what Mr Sharpe achieved and the commitment and bravery he showed in duty.”