Thieves steal flowers laid for war hero in Willesden Green on Armistice Day

Charles Galforth with VC Post

Charles Galforth with VC Post - Credit: Archant

Heartless thieves stole flowers laid in memory of a World War One hero from Willesden Green, 90 minutes after they were placed there on Armistice Day.

VC Commemorative stone

VC Commemorative stone - Credit: Archant

The red roses where left on a commemorative paving stone honouring Corporal Charles Garforth on Lachmere Road, at midday on November 11 by a local resident.

The stone was laid near his former home in August this year – almost 100 years to the day when he was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for his heroic acts while serving in France in August 1914.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, had placed the flowers with a poppy before returning home.

However less than 90 minutes later she walked past the spot and noticed they had been taken.

Corporal Galforth in his later years

Corporal Galforth in his later years - Credit: Archant

She said: “I’m absolutely outraged that somebody would stoop so low to steal flowers off a local man who was commemorated not long ago. It’s something that shouldn’t go unnoticed.”

Born in Chaplin Road, Willesden, in 1891, Corporal Garforth joined the ninth Battalion Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex) Regiment, Territorial Force at 18.

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He saved his comrades from certain death after volunteering to cut a wire fence under heavy machine gun fire, allowing them to make their escape and he rescued a sergeant trapped under his dead horse, carrying him to safety.

Corporal Garforth married Lilian with whom he had four children, the eldest killed aged six after being run over.

He died in 1973, aged 81.

The resident said: “I want people to know what they did because it’s quite clearly a memorial paving slab.

“It’s despicable, especially on Armistice Day, to take the flowers from there.

“They might last a day or two before the road sweepers clears them up but at least they might be there for the day and would draw people’s attention to the stone.”

The lives of Corporal Garforth and four other World War One heroes Edith Knight, Charles Bowen, Mabel Comben and Charles Pinkham, are explored in the exhibition Brent Remembers: First World War.

The exhibition also showcases Brent Remembers: the Digital War Memorial Project and features creative works of remembrance from artists and local residents.

It is taking place at Brent Civic Centre in Engineers Way, Wembley, between 8am - 6pm, until March 27 next year.