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Hero's finale for 'Lost VC; TRIBUTE: Graveyard memorial unveiled to brave soldier.

Byline: By James Cartledge

A DARING soldier dubbed "The Lost VC" was a hero all over again - exactly 88 years after he won Britain's highest gallantry honour.

Dozens of relatives and senior army officials gathered to remember Lance Corporal Alfred Wilcox as a memorial stone to the Victorian Cross winner was dedicated yards from his final resting place in an unmarked grave.

The Last Post sounded and standard bearers lowered their flags as the 4ft stone was unveiled at the parish church of St Peter and St Paul in Aston.

The ceremony ended a long quest for recognition for Aston-born L/Cpl Wilcox, who was awarded the cross for capturing German gun positions on the Western front despite losing all his men on September 12, 1918.

He survived but was buried in an unmarked grave when he died in March 1954.

Memorial organiser John Wilcox, a former Birmingham Post reporter, said: "For his family there is a sense of closure because his headstone wasn't put up and everyone's been searching for him.

"It's also wonderful because we haven't seen some of the family for 50 years."

The memorial was the first stone to be erected in the churchyard for many years as it is now closed to new burials.

John Wilcox's daughter, Elaine Read, laid a wreath at the foot of the stone along with General Sir Edward Jones, chairman of the Regimental Committee of L/Cpl Wilcox's regiment, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

The VC winner's son, Vincent Nicholls, gave a Bible reading flanked by standard bearers from the National Service Veterans Association, the Birmingham and District Royal Artillery Association, South Staffordshire County Royal British Legion and the Federation of Ex-Servicemen.

The vicar of Aston, the Rev Andrew Jolley, said: "Alfred's stone records his amazing bravery and service to his country.

"One of the great joys about today is the way his family have been able to re-discover each other.

"In Alfred's full life, there were many more chapters after that chapter 88 years ago."

CAPTION(S):

HONOURING THE PAST... Gerald Rose, chairman of the National Service Veterans Association, reflects on the bravery of Lance Corporal Alfred Wilcox during yesterday's ceremony. Picture: Iain Findlay' GALLANT... L/C pl Alfred Wilcox.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 13, 2006
Words:372
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