A heroic Brent soldier who was awarded the Victoria Cross has been remembered with the first commemorative paving stone to be laid in recognition of brave First World War servicemen.

Born in Chaplin Road, Willesden Green, Corporal Charles Garforth died in July 1973 in Nottingham. He was a member of the 15th (The King’s) Hussars Regiment during the Great War.

 

On August 23, 1914, under heavy fire, he volunteered to cut a wire, allowing his squadron to escape, and on September 2, he extricated a sergeant lying under his horse and under fire, then the following day drew off enemy fire to allow another sergeant to escape.

Exactly 100 years later, Corporal Garforth has been remembered with a ceremony and unveiling of the commemorative stone which took place on Saturday in Lechmere Road, near his childhood home.

Corporal Charles Ernest Garforth, who died in 1973, was part of the 15th Hussars (The Kings) Regiment and was one of the first soldiers to be awarded the Victoria Cross for acts during the First World War
Corporal Charles Ernest Garforth, who died in 1973, was part of the 15th Hussars (The Kings) Regiment and was one of the first soldiers to be awarded the Victoria Cross for acts during the First World War
 

Doug Garforth, 66, the Victoria Cross winner’s grandson, of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, said: "It was a lovely day. It was a moving occasion and was a family event and a community event.

“I knew my grandfather well, he died when I was in my 20s.

“He grew up in Willesden Green and lived in Harrow for a while too. He was very much part of the Harrow community and we still have newspaper clippings of him in the Harrow paper when he lived there.

“He was the first person in the UK to be awarded the Victoria Cross.”

Willesden Green-born Victoria Cross recipient, the late Charles Garforth, who displayed acts of gallantry and valour during the First World War
Willesden Green-born Victoria Cross recipient, the late Charles Garforth, who displayed acts of gallantry and valour during the First World War
 

There were 628 Victoria Crosses awarded for actions during the First World War and a total of 469 paving stones will be laid across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Councillor James Denselow (Labour), lead member for stronger communities at Brent Council, said: “We’re proud Charles Ernest Garforth was born in Willesden Green and was one of the first men to receive a Victoria Cross (VC) in the First World War.

“It’s very fitting that VC recipients of the First World War are remembered with a commemorative paving stone and I hope people come and see it and find out more about Charles Garforth.”