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Daughter sees fallen WWI hero recognised after 92-year wait

PUBLISHED: 12:04 26 November 2009 | UPDATED: 17:22 25 August 2010

EMOTIONAL: Maude plants a cross dedicated to her father.

EMOTIONAL: Maude plants a cross dedicated to her father.

IT has been a 92-year wait but finally a great-grandmother has seen her father s sacrifice in World War I remembered.

TOUCHING: Maud Day, 93, is moved to see father's sacrifice is honoured with his name being added to the fallen of WWI at the war

IT has been a 92-year wait but finally a great-grandmother has seen her father's sacrifice in World War I remembered.

Rifleman Alfred Thomas Turrell, formerly of Maxim Road, Crayford, of the 10th battalion of the rifle brigade died on June 22, 1917, but his name never made it on the Crayford memorial alongside his two brothers-in-laws.

But after it was brought to the attention of the council, with the help of the Times, his only surviving child, Maud Day, 93, of Moat Lane, Slade Green, saw her father's name finally etched on the Crayford war memorial in May Place Road.

Mrs Day was reduced to tears when she arrived at the memorial last Wednesday accompanied by Bexley Mayor, Bernard Clewes.

She then planted a cross the memorial's flower bed, upon which was written "All my love, daughter Maud x x x".

The mother-of-seven, who grew up in Dartford, was only 15-months-old when her father was killed and does not have a photograph of him.

She said: "It is overwhelming for me. I would like to thank everybody who made this happen in my time of life.

"I am really chuffed."

Mrs Day, who has outlived three of her own children, only discovered her father, who is buried in the Noreuil Australian Cemetery in northern France, was not included on the memorial in August when her friend Jim Carlo offered to take her to see it.

Mr Carlo and his son Ian Carlo visited Mr Turrell's grave in France and offered to take Mrs Day to see his name on the Crayford memorial, only to discover it was not there.

Bexley council staff agreed to rectify the blunder as soon as they were told about the omission.

The circumstances into how Mr Turrell died are not known, nor why he is buried with Australian soldiers.

However the area near Bapaume and Noreuil was the scene of fierce battle between the Germans and the Australians, beginning on April 15, 1917.

The cemetery was opened in April 1917 and was used until the following December.

Approximately 200 soldiers are buried there. Of these nearly 30 are unidentified soldiers. Over 80 graves were destroyed by shell fire and are now represented by a special memorial.

When fighting troops were separated from their regiment they often formed groups between themselves and this could be one of the reasons Turrell was with Australian soldiers.

The Mayor said he was delighted to accompany Mrs Day on the special day. He said: "I felt deeply honoured to meet Mrs Day and hear about her father's role in the Great War.

"The council wanted to ensure that Rifleman Alfred Turrell's name would be rightly immortalised on the memorial and my thanks go to Mr Carlo and the Times for bringing this to our attention."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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