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Permission granted for Coltman VC grave project

Tuesday 20th August 2013 (Andrew Griffiths)

PLANS to restore the grave of a Burton war hero, who was the most decorated soldier in the First World War, have taken a step big forward.

Church leaders have now granted permission for the Victoria Cross Trust to carry out the work on Mr Coltman’s grave, at St Mark’s Church, Winshill.

William Coltman, born in Rangemore before living in Winshill, was a stretcher bearer in the North Staffordshire Regiment.

He was awarded the Military Medal and Distinguished Conduct Medal twice as well as the Victoria Cross, the highest military award for gallantry, for rescuing wounded soldiers while under fire in 1918.

A date will now be set for the work to take place on the grave which will include the entire memorial being removed, the kerbstones replaced, a stone placed at the foot of the grave with an image of the Victoria Cross and the North Staffordshire Regiment badge.

Burton’s MP Andrew Griffiths, a patron of the trust, told the Mail: “It’s fantastic that we are one step closer to restoring this important memorial for Burton.

“We are all now very excited to see the finished restoration work and to know that we will know have a grave that which befits a British hero.”

The work can only go ahead thanks to Burton townsfolk who helped to raise the £3,000 needed to carry out the project, which the Mail backed with its Honour Our Heroes campaign.

Gary Stapleton, chairman of the Victoria Cross Trust, said he hopes he will soon be able to set a date for the work to take place.

He said: “We have passed the final step in the process and now it’s a case of setting the date for the restorers to come in.

“We hope they will be able to start on the Thursday night and be done by the Friday morning with the idea being to unveil it on the Friday afternoon.”

Rev Michael Mookerji, of St Mark’s Church, told the Mail: “The church is very grateful to the Victoria Cross Trust. William Coltman was a distinguished soldier and will receive the care, honour and dignity he deserves.”

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