December 7 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
A mother whose son was killed by an Afghan bomb told of her relief as he was immortalised in his home town.
Trooper James Leverett’s name was yesterday added to the memorial in St George’s Park, Great Yarmouth – the first new engraving since 1956.
The 20-year-old was killed on July 5, 2010, when his Viking armoured vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.
And as serving soldiers from the Royal Dragoon Guards bade farewell to their comrade, his family paid tribute to him.
His mother Sharon, in a statement read by Rev Albert Cadmore, said: “No mother wants to see their son’s name on a war memorial, but as a proud, proud mum I think James should be recognised for the ultimate sacrifice.”
Trooper Leverett was born at the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, on November 1, 1989.
He lived in Gorleston, later moving to Great Yarmouth, where he attended Greenacre Infant School.
And his mother recalled his carefree upbringing on the Norfolk coast, “putting sand in his mouth on Yarmouth beach, resulting in very sandy nappies”.
At the age of seven he moved to Yorkshire with his immediate family, although his grandparents, aunts and uncles still live in the Yarmouth borough and he had many friends in the town.
“James was a popular lad simply because he was sociable, well-mannered, respectful, friendly and his big welcoming smile that also showed his cheeky, humorous side,” added his mother.
“I’m lucky enough to have 20 years of wonderful memories.”
His grandfather, Trevor Leverett, 63, of Gorleston, said he was “grateful” that Trooper Leverett finally had a lasting tribute by way of recognition in his home town.
“He is buried up in Yorkshire, so this memorial in St George’s Park is a special place where family members living in the Yarmouth area can go to remember him,” he added.
“It’s also a kind of closure for us. His loss will never go away but it makes it a bit more bearable knowing he is recognised for his bravery and his service to his country.
“James was special, he was something else. He was somebody who always had time for you. And he always had a smile on his face.
“He was such a lovely lad, everybody loved him.”
Trooper Leverett had joined the Army aged 18, going to Winchester for his 14-week basic training, and then onto Bovington for phase two, before joining the Royal Dragoon Guards, based at Catterick.
His name was added to the brass plaque on the memorial after the Royal British Legion’s Yarmouth branch approached Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
RBL group captain Stewart Blackburn hailed the council for its support.
He added that the memorial should be a “living monument”, and urged family of other fallen soldiers to contact their local RBL branch so their loved one’s name could be added to their local memorial.