Book celebrates the bravery of a wartime hero among many heroes
15:16 09 September 2014
A Wymondham soldier who was awarded the Army’s most prestigious award for advancing on the German trenches during the First World War has been commemorated in a book about the conflict’s greatest heroes.
Lt Col Harry Daniels was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) after bravely carrying out an order to attack by advancing into an area strewn with machine guns and barbed wire at Neuve Chapelle, France, in March 1915.
Lt Col Daniels and his colleague, Acting Cpl Cecil Reginald Noble, voluntarily rushed to the front to try to attack the wires – but were injured instantly.
Noble later died of his wounds but Lt Col Daniels, who at the time was a Company Sergeant-Major in the The Rifle Brigade, survived.
Despite being wounded he returned to the battlefield months later, where his heroic acts continued after he rescued an injured man from the edge of the enemy wire, carrying him 300 yards to safety.
Paul Oldfield, who has compiled a series of nine books telling the story of all 492 men who were awarded a VC in the First World War, said Lt Col Daniels’s story was a fantastic show of bravery.
“He did a cracking job and it was a pretty outstanding effort,” said Mr Oldfield, whose first volume is entitled Victorian Crosses on the Western Front August 1914-April 1915.
“They must have known they were in for a hard time.”
He added that Lt Col Daniel’s story showed “the sacrifices people made and that they were willing to stick their necks out”.
Stores and customers donate to vision for town’s war memorial
Cromer’s bid to honour its war heroes has been given a healthy boost by two local businesses.
Both have donated sums to a £40,000 appeal to restore the town’s weather-beaten war memorial over the next four years.
The Co-operative store, on Middlebrook Way, has given just over £1,300 to the cause while K Hardware, opposite the memorial, on Church Street, has donated £500.
The bulk of the Co-op cash represented 50pc of the annual proceeds of recycling banks on its site for glass, newspapers and cartons, according to store manager Mark Dixon. The other half went to Sheringham-based Break charity.
The Co-op’s total was further boosted by £300 from its Token of Support scheme which sees customers post green plastic tokens into charity containers. The tokens are then swapped for cash by the store.
Paul Kirkham, owner of K Hardware, said customers had put cash in an appeal collection pot in his shop.
Cromer Town Council member David Pritchard, chairman of the restoration appeal committee, thanked the businesses and said the sums would help the committee’s crucial bid for Heritage Lottery Funding.
The memorial, dedicated in 1921, had been paid for through public subscription and Mr Pritchard said he liked to think that the people of Cromer were once again showing their support for the town’s war dead by contributing to the appeal.
“Cromer does well by turning out in force every Remembrance Day and for this year’s centenary of the start of the First World War, on August 4,” said Mr Pritchard.
“I think it’s indicative of what Cromer is like as a town – people do care. But it’s important that we sustain this giving over the coming months.”
The latest donations bring the appeal total to nearly £6,500. It aims to replace the memorial figures of St George, an infantryman, Royal Flying Corps pilot, sailor, and Red Cross nurse which have deteriorated over the years.
An extra 64 names, from the Second World war and subsequent conflicts, will also be added to the memorial.
The committee aims to complete the work by November 11, 2018, the centenary of the end of the Great War.
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Lt Col Daniels had joined the Army at a young age having been born in Wymondham.
After being awarded his VC by the King and being presented with a purse of gold by the Sheriff of Norwich when he returned to the city after his injury in battle, Lt Col Daniels opted again to fight for his country on the front line of battle.
He was thought to have been killed in action after the Lord Mayor of Norwich received a telegram to that effect.
However this was soon revealed to be an error after his family started receiving postcards from him from the front line.
After he second heroic act carrying an injured man to safety, he was also award a Military Cross (MC) for “consistent and conspicuous gallantry”.
He retired from the Army in 1930 and later managed The Crown Hotel in Woodbridge, Suffolk, before his death on December 13 1953.
A street in Wymondham, Harry Daniels Close, was later named after him.
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