Service held to honour sacrifice of Buckden soldier who was awarded Victoria Cross

Ceremony to unveil plaque to Captain John Green

Ceremony to unveil plaque to Captain John Green - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Buckden on Sunday to pay their respects to Captain John Green, who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Capt John Green

Capt John Green - Credit: Archant

Capt Green was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallant actions on July 1, 1916, after he went to the aid of a fellow officer who was wounded.

Buckden Parish Council set up a working group last year to organise the ceremony, which included the laying of a commemorative stone in honour of Capt Green. The event, which reflected the sacrifice of all those who died in the First World War, was attended by Brigadier Peter Fabricius, representative Colonel Commandant of the Royal Army Medical Corps who inspected soldiers and cadets from Kimbolton Combined Cadet Force and Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force. Relatives of fallen soldiers, pupils from Buckden Primary School, parish councillors, representatives from the British Legion and Sir Hugh Duberly, the Lord Lieutenant for Cambridgeshire were also in attendance.

Fiona Shirley, chairman of Buckden Parish Council, said the event was a proud day for the Buckden community.

“It was a particularly poignant day for communities across our country as many people remembered the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 100 years ago. On that day, Captain Green carried out an act of extreme valour which earned him the Victoria Cross, but which also cost him his life.”

Tribute was also paid to former Buckden man, Private Horace Pepper, who also died on the first day of the battle. Relatives of five of the men who are listed on the village’s war memorial were also at the ceremony.

King George V awarded the Victoria Cross to Capt Green, a medical officer, for his “most conspicuous devotion to duty”. His citation reads: “Although he was himself wounded, he went to the assistance of an officer who had been wounded and hung up on enemy wire entanglements and succeeded in dragging him to a shell hole where he dressed his wounds, notwithstanding the bombs, and rifle grenades that were thrown at him the whole time. Capt Green then endeavoured to bring the wounded officer into safe cover and nearly succeeded in doing so when he was himself killed.

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John Leslie Green was born on December 4, 1888, and was the son of John and Flora Green of High Street, Buckden. He was 26 when he died and had been married for six months. His young brother, Alan, was killed in action on October 15, 1915.