War memorial rededicated at last for fallen Gladys
A special service was held in Braunston on Saturday last week to rededicate the village war memorial to include Gladys Walter.
About 175 people turned out in the quiet village for the service at All Saints Church in Braunston to commemorate Gladys’ life.
Gladys was born in Braunston in 1900 and she joined the Women’s Royal Air Force aged 20, to support the war effort.
Gladys was stationed at the No.39 Training Depot Station in Grantham, and worked as a Rigger on fighter planes. She was living away from home for the first time, quartered in Wrights Cottage in Grantham, alongside other young women from the base.
Sadly, within a short few months of joining the war effort, Gladys became ill with pneumonia and tragically lost her life on November 11 1918, the very last day of World War One.
But this courageous young woman’s name was never included in the village war memorial because she was female, and did not die in combat.
Braunston Parish Council was determined to change that and organised for Gladys’ name to be added to the war memorial.
On Saturday, members of the village did her proud as they organised the spectacle which started at 11am.
The service include readings, poems and a blessing led by the Rev Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani, team leader of the Oakham team ministry.
The Lord Lieutenant of Rutland Dr Laurence Howard and the High Sheriff of Rutland Miles Williamson-Noble were among the dignitaries who attended, along with members of the Army and the Air Cadets.
Some members of the Leicestershire regiment even wore war uniforms from the time of the First World War.
Braunston Parish Council also managed to track down some of Gladys’ family, many of whom did not even know she had existed, to attend.
During the service, village school children took it in turns to place a rose for each of the names on the war memorial, while there were also wreaths laid.
Afterwards, there was tea and cakes in the village hall.
Carole Brown, clerk to the parish council, said the service was a fitting way to commemorate Gladys’ life.
She said: “We were all really very pleased with the turnout.
“The weather was a bit overcast but it held out for us and there were no terrible winds and rains like in the previous week.
“Gladys’ family were amazed with the morning.
“Braunston is such a quiet place so it was a really nice event for the village and I think it is something that will stay in our memories for a long time to come.
“We are very pleased that after 100 years, her name has been added and we all wondered what she’d make of it all.
“We hope she’d be proud.”