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MP welcomes funding to tend graves of Victoria Cross winners

April 25, 2014 12:34 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed funding to tend the graves of the brave winners of the Victoria Cross, including Lance-Corporal James Hewitson who is buried in Coniston.The graves of four First World War heroes from Cumbria, including James are to be included in a project which aims to restore the final resting places of Victoria Cross recipients to their former glory.

James was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. On 26 April 1918 at Givenchy, France, in a daylight attack on a series of crater posts, Lance-Corporal Hewitson led his party to their objective, clearing the enemy from both trench and dug-outs. After capturing the final objective he saw a hostile machine-gun team coming into action against his men and working his way round the edge of the crater he attacked the team, killing four and capturing one. Shortly afterwards he routed a bombing party which was attacking a Lewis gun, killing six of them. For this action he received his Victoria Cross.

Born in Coniston, on the 15 October 1892. He was a 25 years old Lance-Corporal in the 1/4th Battalion, The King's Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment, British Army during the First World War. He died 2 March 1963 in Ulverston and is buried at St Andrew's Churchyard, Coniston.

The government yesterday announced £100,000 towards the restoration of the UK graves in need of repair. Headstones will be cleaned or replaced so that the graves of those who received the highest military award for valour is a truly fitting tribute to their sacrifice.

Four people from Cumbria received the Victoria Cross between 1915 and 1918. The new funding will give a significant boost to funds already being raised by the Victoria Cross Trust - a charitable organisation that works to ensure the graves of every Victoria Cross recipient are maintained.

While some graves only require minor work, others have fallen into disrepair - headstones have become illegible; stones have crumbled away leaving them unstable; and some are in danger of collapse. As a result many people are unaware that a Victoria Cross recipient is buried in their community.

Tim said: "This funding is very welcome and will highlight the heroism of James and his service to our country. Like many soldiers today, we thank them for their service and this funding will allow us to pay tribute to a man who was given the highest honour for gallantry available."