THE Herald campaign to get Stratford’s First World War hero Rex Warneford recognised by the government is gathering pace with Stratford’s MP writing formally to ministers.
Nadhim Zahawi has highlighted the ex-King Edward VI schoolboy’s case to Culture Secretary Maria Miller. Omitted from 100th anniversary plans to commemorate Victoria Cross winners because he wasn’t born in the UK, fighter pilot Rex was a national hero when he died in 1915, just 23 days after he became the first man to shoot down a zeppelin singlehandedly.
The Herald and KES are campaigning for him to be officially recognised in stone like the other VC winners. We think the best place for this is outside the Guildhall in Church Street.
Mr Zahawi said: “Rex Warneford must not be forgotten. Educated at Shakespeare’s own school, Stratfordians are rightly proud of the contribution he made. His act of great bravery is a legacy that should be remembered. The fact that he was born in India should not prevent the government from honouring his sacrifice.”
Stratford's MP Nadhim Zahawi
Since launching the campaign two weeks ago, the Herald has been inundated with support from readers. Dozens of people have backed the campaign on Facebook and yesterday (Wednesday) pupils at KES, particularly the 150 or so in Warneford house, pledged their support.
Year 13’s Dan Taylor is Warneford House Captain. He said: “It’s very important to the school because he’s one of the four key figures, when you first come here you hear his name all the time.”
As well as the pupils, the school’s Old Boys group have joined the campaign, as has the Mayor of Stratford, Cllr Diane Walden. Dan said: “I don’t think anyone can see why it wouldn’t go through.”
Last month, the government announced plans to put commemorative stone slabs in the home towns of First World War VC winners. They have not yet announced how they are going to remember Commonwealth-born VC winners, but said: “No hero will be forgotten.”
Rex Warneford won a Victoria Cross in WWI after single-handedly shooting down a zeppelin.
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