A special ceremony to honour a hero of the Great War is to be held in Paulton on Thursday 8th October, organised by Paulton Parish Council and two local councillors.
Oliver Brooks was the only soldier from the area covered by the present-day Bath & North East Somerset Council to be awarded the Victoria Cross in the Great War.
He was given the VC for his bravery in action in the Battle of Loos on 8th October 1915.
100 years to the day the village of Paulton will honour their local hero with a special ceremony and the unveiling of a commemorative stone plaque.
Bath & North East Somerset Council is working with Paulton Parish Council to organise this event.
Three local residents, George Batchelar, Dave Hamblin and Ken Rideout, have also been helping the Parish Council make October 8th a special day for the village and for more than 50 representatives of Oliver Brooks’ family who will be attending the ceremony.
Councillor Liz Hardman (Labour, Paulton), also a Paulton Parish Councillor, and Councillor John Bull (Labour, Paulton), have been involved in organising the day’s events.
Cllr Hardman said: “We are both tremendously proud that Paulton was home to the only WW1 solider in our district to be awarded the Victoria Cross.”
Cllr Bull added: “It is only right and fitting that the bravery of Lance Sergeant Brooks should be honoured by both the Parish Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council and remembered by generations to come.”
Oliver Brooks’ citation for his award reads:
“His Majesty the King has been pleased to award the Victoria Cross to no. 6738 Lance Sergeant Oliver Brooks, 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards for most conspicuous bravery near Loos, on 8th October 1915.
“A strong party of the enemy having captured 200 yards of our trenches, Lance Sergeant Brooks, on his own initiative, led a party of bombers in the most determined manner, and succeeded in regaining possession of the lost ground.
“The single bravery by this non-commissioned officer, in the midst of a hail of bombs from the Germans, was of the first order, and the complete success attained in a very dangerous undertaking was entirely due to his absolute fearlessness, presence of mind and promptitude.”
Cllr Les Wild, Chairman of Paulton Parish Council, said: “On 8 October we will have a simple church service at 2.30pm, followed by a ceremony at the War Memorial.
“Many local dignitaries will be attending the service and ceremony. We will also have representatives of the Coldstream Guards in attendance, in honour of Sergeant Brooks.
“I hope as many residents as possible will join us at the War Memorial for the unveiling of the commemorative stone.”
A Civic Reception is being held for Oliver Brooks’ family in the evening following the ceremony.
It will be hosted by Councillor Ian Gilchrist, Chairman of Bath & North East Somerset Council.
Cllr Gilchrist said: “Many of Oliver Brooks’ family are travelling to Paulton to take part in this unique event and pay their respects.
“Bath & North East Somerset is honoured to welcome them and to share in remembering a brave man. The Council is proud to be marking the centenary of World War One throughout the next three years.”