A ceremony to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the awarding of the first Victoria Cross in the First World War was held at the weekend.

The Loughton Branch of the Royal British Legion were joined at Loughton Cemetery by the Royal Fusiliers Association, local councillors and over 70 residents to honour Private Sidney Godley.

Private Godley was given the honour by George V on August 23, 1914, after showing particular heroism in his management of machine guns on the first day of the Battle of Mons.

He retired to Torrington Drive in Loughton and spent his last days in St. Margaret’s Hospital in Epping, where he died in 1957, aged 67.

The service, which was led by Reverend Geoffrey Smith of St John’s Church, Loughton, also commemorated First World War serviceman buried in Commonwealth War Graves in the cemetery.

Loughton Town Clerk Enid Walsh said: “Loughton town mayor, Sharon Weston recounted the story of Private Godley’s brave deeds on that fateful day in Mons, Belgium. 

“One of the most poignant parts of the ceremony was the reading by Ed Pond, of his especially written poem, ‘The Line was Sidney’. Ed is the son of local councillors Caroline and Chris Pond.

“It was a moving commemorative service”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Woodland Trust