WWI hero to be honoured with second commemoration event in Beaconsfield

Francis and Riversdale Grenfell

Francis and Riversdale Grenfell

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A WAR hero, who lived in Beaconsfield from a young age, will be honoured in a special ceremony later this year, after the town’s mayor visited his birthplace.

Francis Grenfell was one of the first World War One personnel to be awarded the Victoria Cross, the joint highest military accolade, for protecting guns from the enemy after being shot and severely wounded in August 1914.

As part of a WWI centenary government initiative, commemorative stones will be given to the hometown of all VCs.

However, because Captain Grenfell only moved to the town at the age of seven, a duplicate had to be commissioned for Beaconsfield.

In a recent ceremony in Guilford, where Francis and his twin brother Riversdale were born, the commemorative stone was unveiled.

Both the Mayor of Beaconsfield Steve Jones and deputy mayor John Read attended the event on Sunday, August 24, along with members of the Grenfell family.

Cllr Jones said: “It was really nice to be invited down to Guilford for this unveiling and as a town we are looking to commemorate 100 years since he was awarded the VC.

“The details haven’t yet been agreed but we are pleased to be able to honour him in November.

“As a town we take pride in the fact both the Grenfell’s lived here and although he was born in Guilford he lived most of his life, as far as I am aware, in Beaconsfield.”

After campaigning to receive a commemorative item for the VC, Beaconsfield Town Council agreed to pay £300 for a duplicate of the stone.

This stone will be placed near the town’s war memorial where both Francis and Riversdale are honoured.

It has now been agreed the stone will be unveiled to the public on Remembrance Sunday, November 9.

As well as the town council, community group the Beaconsfield Society have also helped to secure the duplicate stone.

Society member Kari Dorme said: “He may not have been born here but he is very much our hero, he is Beaconsfield’s hero.

“He is on the memorial statue and now it is nice to have this to mark his life.”

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