Town memorial for Great War hero

By John HowardA LASTING memorial to a First World War hero who was awarded the Victoria Cross could be displayed in an East Anglian town.Stowmarket Town Council has agreed in principle to help organise the memorial in memory of John Bent who won the Victoria Cross.

By John Howard

A LASTING memorial to a First World War hero who was awarded the Victoria Cross could be displayed in an East Anglian town.

Stowmarket Town Council has agreed in principle to help organise the memorial in memory of John Bent who won the Victoria Cross.

Mr Bent, who was born in Stowmarket in 1891, enlisted with the East Lancashire Regiment at the age of 14. After four years in Ireland he was based in Woking, Surrey from 1909-1912, and Colchester from 1912-1914.


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Town councillors will discuss the idea of putting up a plaque outside the Pickerel Inn and a framed picture of Mr Bent with information about him inside the pub, subject to the owner's consent.

Mr Bent went as a member of the British Expeditionary Force to France, taking part in the battles at the Marne and the Aisne Valley in the First World War.

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In 1914 in Ypres, Belgium ,under heavy enemy fire he went over the top to rescue a private who had been shot by the Germans after leaving the trench. The private was more than 25 yards away and Mr Bent dragged the man to safety and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery.

He was presented with his honour by King George V at Buckingham Palace on December 9, 1914, and promoted to sergeant, before he returned to the Western Front in the summer of 1916.

Badly injured at the Battle of the Somme, Mr Bent was sent home, but recovered to return to the Western Front and on November 3, 1918, won the Military Medal for bravery in the field.

Mr Bent remained in the Army after the war and served in the West Indies and Malta before retiring in 1925. He the worked as a janitor at Paragon School in the New Kent Road, London, and later as a commissionaire for brewers Courage.

He died on May 3, 1977, and his medals were sold in 2000 for £80,000.

john.howard@eadt.co.uk

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