A Victoria Cross hero unveiled Hounslow's new memorial on Saturday (August 2) as an estimated crowd of 300 gathered to remember those killed in the First World War.

Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry VC took part in a centenary service at the new granite obelisk outside Holy Trinity Church in Hounslow High Street.

Mr Beharry, who was awarded the UK's highest military honour for twice risking his life to rescue ambushed comrades in Iraq, was joined by people young and old wishing to pay their respects.

Memorial wreaths were laid by two children whose fathers are in the Welsh Guards, currently stationed at Hounslow Cavalry Barracks, and the Second Mercians, formerly based at the barracks in Hounslow West.

Ian Pearce, vice chairman of Hounslow Royal British Legion, said: "The children laying the poppies represented the future generation, and their fathers the present, remembering the sacrifices of the past generations."

Chelsea Pensioners and other veterans from the Royal British Legion also gathered for the service, marking 100 years since Britain entered the war on August 4, 1914.

 

Andre McGill, chairman of Hounslow RBL, said he was delighted so many people of all ages had congregated to remember the sacrifices made all those years ago.

He added that it meant a lot for Hounslow to finally have a war memorial worthy of the name, which is something for which he and previous RBL chairman have spent years campaigning.

"It gives Hounslow its own centre of remembrance which is important, especially with the barracks being here," he said.

"It was particularly nice to have two RAF personnel from 27 Squadron, which was formed on Hounslow Heath in 1915."

The inscription on the memorial reads: "To the memory of the fallen servicemen and servicewomen who gave their lives in all conflicts, past and present.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.

"When you go home tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow wer gave our today."

The lights will be switched off at landmarks across the borough today to commemorate the centenary, and a special service is being held at the war memorial outside Brentford library next Sunday.

An exhibition about the lives of those from Hounslow who fought in the First World War is also being staged at Hounslow Civic Centre.