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We will remember our hero

PUBLISHED: 12:32 17 September 2009 | UPDATED: 17:10 25 August 2010

RECOGNITION: The Crayford memorial will list the name of Alfred Turrell of the 10th battalion of the Rifle Brigade. Here you can see one of his brother-in-laws' names.

RECOGNITION: The Crayford memorial will list the name of Alfred Turrell of the 10th battalion of the Rifle Brigade. Here you can see one of his brother-in-laws' names.

EXCLUSIVE A WORLD War One hero mysteriously left off a memorial will finally have his name etched on the monument - 92 years after his death.

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A WORLD War One hero mysteriously left off a memorial will finally have his name etched on the monument - 92 years after his death.

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-law.

Now Bexley council has agreed to rectify the 92-year-old omission meaning his only living child Maude Day, 93, of Moat Lane, Slade Green, will be able to see his sacrifice remembered.

The mother-of-seven, who grew up in Dartford, said: "I am very pleased to think after all these years he will be remembered. He lost his life and I think to myself I am lucky to find out before I go. I am 93 and my sister has died."

A spokesman for Bexley council said: "The fact that Mr Turrell's name was missing from the Crayford War Memorial was brought to our attention recently. We made the necessary checks and have made arrangements for it to be added.

"We are very pleased that this oversight from many years has now been corrected and that Mr Turrell's name will be where it should be - alongside the many other servicemen and women who gave their lives for their country."

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

Mrs Day was just 15months old when her father died and she has no photograph of him.

She said: "I thank Jim Carlo for sorting out all this for my dad and for him and his son Ian going to France to find my father's grave. I am very pleased for what he has done for me.

"It is awkward as I have no relations to ask about my dad now.

"I never knew nothing about it because I was a baby when he died.

"I just thought he was on there because of his medals. I can remember being at school and the Prince of Wales opening Princess Road, Dartford. He cut the ribbon and I had to wear my father's medals. I don't know what they were called. There were two white ones with ribbon and a big one like a penny. Then my mum gave them to her brother and we don't know what happened to them after that.

"In the evening the Prince went to the Working Men's Club in Essex Road, Wilmington and danced with a young woman from the laundrette and he gave her his silver cigarette case with his name on it. They all spoke about it. My mum never talked about my dad afterwards. I don't know why. I think she was too upset because two of her brothers had been killed and my dad. And she was expecting my sister. I don't know if she was premature because I remember them saying she had to be carried around on a pillow because she was only tiny."

The mother-of-seven does not know what her father was like but she describes her mother as a "happy, go-lucky person who always helped people".

Her mother went on to marry again and had another 11 children.

Mrs Day said: "I used to have to work hard in those days. I used to help my mum with my step-brothers and sisters."

She would walk from the Tree Estate in Dartford to go out pea picking in a field in Wilmington, and at 8am go to work at Wallace's nursery and then walk back across Dartford Heath to help her mother with the children.

She added: "It has been a tough time but I have had to work hard all my life and I think that has kept me going.

"I do for myself. I grow beans and beetroot and a few spring onions. There are hard days. The old days were better. They were happier days."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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