RBL takes up cause for true national hero

Sidmouth RBL chairman Dave O'Connor at the newly restored grave

Sidmouth RBL chairman Dave O'Connor at the newly restored grave - Credit: Archant

The grave of the only Victoria Cross hero to be buried in East Devon has been restored to its former glory by a team of volunteers.

Colonel Grant's home in Manor Road

Colonel Grant's home in Manor Road - Credit: Archant

Colonel Charles James William Grant was once a household name - but until recently even Sidmouth’s branch of the Royal British Legion was unaware he was buried in the town’s cemetery.

Chairman Dave O’Connor found the veteran’s grave in a state unbefitting the bravery he had shown - when he faced 2,000 attackers with just an 80 man detachment - and resolved to restore it.

“Charles Grant was a remarkable man and a true national hero in his time,” said Mr O’Connor.

“We are honoured that he chose to live in Sidmouth and we couldn’t let his grave just fall apart and crumble.

Colonel Grant's newly restored grave

Colonel Grant's newly restored grave - Credit: Archant


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“He deserves better. Following this restoration I hope more people will want to visit the cemetery and remember his courage.”

In the centenary year of its outbreak, funding is available to restore the graves of heroes awarded the VC during World War One - but those who were awarded it for their valour before 1914 went unrecognised.

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Colonel and Mrs Grant had no children and no living relatives have been traced, so Sidmouth RBL took up the cause, with support from a local benefactor.

The grave was restored by AG Real and Son, Monumental Masons of Honiton.

The team from AG Real and Son who restored the grave

The team from AG Real and Son who restored the grave - Credit: Archant

Wreaths of flowers and foliage from Colonel and Mrs Grant’s former home were placed on the grave to mark its completion when it was rededicated last Wednesday.

John McCarthy, RBL chairman Dave O'Connor, EDDC vice chairman Christine Drew and other RBL members

John McCarthy, RBL chairman Dave O'Connor, EDDC vice chairman Christine Drew and other RBL members - Credit: Archant

Colonel Charles James William Grant

Colonel Charles James William Grant - Credit: Archant

Rev Robin Laird at the rededication service of Colonel Grant's grave

Rev Robin Laird at the rededication service of Colonel Grant's grave - Credit: Archant

Colonel Grant's grave had fallen into a state of disrepair

Colonel Grant's grave had fallen into a state of disrepair - Credit: Archant

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