Victoria Cross Ceremony at Streatham War Memorial

It was a bright and sunny day on Tuesday 29th September 2015. It was a particular day and a time to commemorate two brave people. Gathered around the Streatham war memorial by Streatham Common, were many who had come to remember the bravery of two local people.  For their gallantry in the face of the enemy during the Great War of 1914 to 1918, they were awarded our highest medal - the Victoria Cross. These heroes of Streatham were Frederick Henry Johnson (1890-1917) of Bedford Row, Streatham High Road and Arthur Fleming-Sandes (1894-1961) of Northstead Road, Streatham.

Frederick Johnson of the Royal Engineers was awarded his medal for leading his men in repeated attacks on a German strong point on 25th September 1915. Although wounded in this action he later returned to duty and was killed in November 1917. Such bravery was again shown by Arthur Fleming-Sandes of the East Surrey Regiment. Through his action in the face of the enemy on 29th September 1915, he inspired his troops at a critical time, thereby saving the situation.

The large crowd that gathered around the war memorial saw the laying of wreaths on two stones. These have been set into the ground by the war memorial and are engraved with the Victoria Cross and the name of the recipient, regiment and date. These were unveiled by the Mayor of Lambeth, His Worship, Councillor Donatus Anyanwu, and other honoured guests. Prayers and the Blessing of the stones were led by the Revered Mandy Hodgson, Rector of the St Leonard’s Church, Streatham.  Before the close of the service the Last Post and Reveille was sounded by a uniformed bugler. Among the contingent of soldiers present was Brigadier Richard Smith, Deputy Commander, London District who gave the Response, and Johnson Beharry, who was awarded his Victoria Cross in 2004 whilst serving in Iraq.

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