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People invited to attend Drayton ceremony honouring the heroism of First World War hero Harry Cator

PUBLISHED: 19:49 07 April 2017 | UPDATED: 19:49 07 April 2017

Norfolk'’s bravest: Harry Cator, recovered from his injuries, displaying his Victoria Cross, Military Medal and French Croix de Guerre which made him the county'’s most highly decorated soldier of the First World War. Photo: Steve Snelling collection.

Norfolk'’s bravest: Harry Cator, recovered from his injuries, displaying his Victoria Cross, Military Medal and French Croix de Guerre which made him the county'’s most highly decorated soldier of the First World War. Photo: Steve Snelling collection.

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People are being invited to attend a special ceremony honouring a decorated First World War soldier from Drayton exactly a century since his act of great heroism which led to him receiving the Victoria Cross.

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

Capt Harry Cator will be commemorated at a service of reflection at St Margaret’s Church, in Drayton, this Sunday before a special stone in his memory is unveiled at Florence Carter Memorial Park. Members of Capt Cator’s family - who were contacted following an appeal in our newspaper - will be attending the occasion along with members of the armed forces and local civic figures.

On April 9 1917, while under heavy machine gun fire in the French town of Arras, the then Sergeant Cator made his way to the enemy trench with a companion who was killed almost immediately. Sergeant Cator succeeded in approaching the enemy and killed the machine gun team, allowing him to hold the trench until support could reach him. His actions led to the capture of enemy soldiers and further machine guns.

Following the war, he settled in Sprowston where he served as a captain in the Home Guard during the Second World War. He died in 1966, aged 72, and was laid to rest in Sprowston cemetery.

Sunday’s event is being hosted by Drayton Parish Council and Broadland District Council. It is part of a Department for Communities and Local Government scheme to lay a commemorative stone in the place of birth of every First World War VC recipient.

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

Graham Everett, Drayton Parish Council chairman, said: “This event will be an historic day for Drayton. It is a real privilege that we are able to honour Harry Cator’s courage in such a way.”

Phil Kirby, Broadland District Council’s chief executive, said: “It is important that Harry Cator lives on in our local history and he, along with all others who have served in the military, is remembered in our community. The commemorative paving stone will allow local people to pay tribute to Captain Cator’s actions for years to come.”

The ceremony is at 3pm on Sunday at St Margaret’s Church, School Road, Drayton, followed by the stone unveiling in Florence Carter Memorial Park. An exhibition by Drayton Junior pupils about Capt Cator and the war will also be on display at Drayton Village Hall on Sunday.


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