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Soldiers will honour hero at unveiling of memorial

SOLDIERS from the barracks named after First World War hero Edward Brooks will join the official unveiling of a new memorial at his grave. The gleaming black granite tablet was commissioned by Keith Brooks, grandson of the Victoria Cross-winning soldier. He paid Reeves Memorials of Magdalen Road, East Oxford, more than 1,000 to create the tribute, showing the Victoria Cross medal with his grandfather s name below.

Mr Brooks is now planning the unveiling ceremony next month for the new headstone at his grandfather s grave at Rose Hill Cemetery. The 68-year-old, who lives in Horspath, said: I think it s fantastic, it s far better than I was expecting.

They made a fantastic job of colouring the medal, it looks exactly like the real thing but bigger. The Ministry of Defence confirmed it was planning to send a small deputation of at least six soldiers from Edward Brooks Barracks in Abingdon, including a bugler and a commanding officer.

Former digger driver Mr Brooks said he wanted people to remember the individuals who fought in the First World War before they became just pages in the history books. He said: I am very proud of my grandfather and what he did, along with every other veteran who did their bit in the wars.

They all deserve the recognition for doing it, they never get enough. Mr Brooks said it was staff at Edward Brooks Barracks that originally suggested the memorial to mark the centenary of the First World War, but he ended up taking on the mission himself.

The 4m barracks, home to the Territorial Army s 7th battalion The Rifles, was opened by the Duchess of Gloucester in 2009.

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Company Sergeant Major Edward Brooks, who served in the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, was awarded the Victoria Cross for capturing a German machine gun at Fayet, in France, on April 28, 1917, and turning it on the enemy. He managed to capture the German machine gun after rushing forward during a trench raid. He shot one of its crew with his revolver and bayoneted another before turning the weapon on fleeing Germans and taking it back to the British line.

Mr Brooks is also trying to get a new war memorial for his village, and joined Horspath Parish Council in May to further that aim.

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He is now part of a four-man war memorial committee on the council.

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