Do you know Harry’s relatives? Hunt to find war hero’s family ahead of commemorative ceremony

Jane Horner is looking for the last five photographs for the book of remembrance kept Caston church,

Jane Horner is looking for the last five photographs for the book of remembrance kept Caston church, enabling her to complete her work on finding what happened to every name listed on the war memorial from WWI - Harry Cator. Picture: Matthew Usher.

He was a homegrown hero who showed extraordinary bravery under heavy enemy fire.

Captain Harry Cator. Photo: EDP Library

Captain Harry Cator. Photo: EDP Library - Credit: Archant

Drayton-born Harry Cator's courage in the face of German machine gun fire during the First World War earnt him the prestigious Victoria Cross and - 100 years on - a ceremony in his home town to commemorate his remarkable actions.

But Drayton Parish Council, which will host the event next year as part of a national project to honour Victoria Cross recipients, has been unable to trace any of the veteran's family members - and is turning to the public for help.

While it is thought many may remain in the east, some are believed to have moved to the south coast.

Graham Everett, chairman of Drayton Parish Council, said: 'I feel very proud and honoured that we are able to commemorate Harry Cator in a way which will be a part of Drayton for a very long time.

Captain Harry Cator's grave at the Cemetery, next to St Margaret's Church, Sprowston. Picture: Denis

Captain Harry Cator's grave at the Cemetery, next to St Margaret's Church, Sprowston. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014


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'It would be wonderful to find family members of Harry Cator to invite to the event in April.

'If anyone is a family member, or knows how we may be able to reach them, I urge them to get in touch so they can share this historic day with Drayton.'

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It was on April 9, 1917, that - during an allied attack in the French town of Arras - Captain Cator's men were severely injured, with the threat of a failed attack looming.

But Capt Cator, then still a sergeant, set out in the open as his unit took shelter, joined by just two other men - one who was killed within seconds.

Members of Sprowston branch of the Royal British Legion gather around the gravestone of Captain Harr

Members of Sprowston branch of the Royal British Legion gather around the gravestone of Captain Harry Cator. Photo: EDP Library - Credit: Archant

His second companion was quickly seriously injured, but Mr Cator battled on to the enemy trench - before killing the machine gun team and holding the trench long enough for support to reach him. In the end, 100 enemy soldiers and six machine guns were taken.

Mr Cator - who is the namesake of Cator Road in Drayton - was the son of a railway worker and had married his Great Yarmouth sweetheart the day before he enrolled.

After returning home, he settled with his wife in Sprowston found employment back on civvy street - working in the post office before taking a job as a clerk with the Unemployment Assistance Board.

He settled with his wife in Sprowston, but volunteered in the Home Guard during the Second World War as a quartermaster at an army transit camp and as a commandant of a prisoner of war camp at Cranwich. It was in 1966, aged 72, that he died from pneumonia.

The ceremony will be held on April 9, 2017, 100 years to the day since the battle at Arras.

• If you are related to Mr Cator, or know anyone who can help, please contact pressoffice@broadland.gov.uk at Broadland District Council, which will be receiving the paving stone next year, or call 01603 430124.

• Do you have a historic story we should be writing about? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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