A special paving stone to commemorate a recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC) in the First World War was unveiled at St John’s Churchyard, Bedminster, at 11am on Thursday (20 November) 2014.
A Sergeant with the 1st Battalion, The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, Bedminster-born Thomas Rendle was the Regiment’s only recipient of the VC - the highest military decoration awarded for valour in the face of the enemy - during the First World War. He was a bandsman and like other bandsmen was a stretcher-bearer. On 20 November 1914 near Wulverghem in Belgium, German artillery fire had collapsed a trench and buried a number of men including an injured 2nd Lt Colebrooke. Rendle, who had been working throughout the day to free casualties, crawled across the blown-in trench under heavy fire, attended to the officer’s leg and with Lt Colebrooke on his back, scraped away at the earth to get him back to safety.
The commemoration event was led by the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Alastair Watson and Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Col Andrew Flint. They were joined by representatives from the Forces, Royal British Legion, Bristol City Council and members of the local Bedminster community.
The commemoration was part of a nationwide campaign to honour First World War VC recipients. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is providing 469 commemorative paving stones to local authorities, 145 to the National Arboretum and 35 to the Republic of Ireland to mark the bravery of people awarded the VC during the First World War.
The stone laid in honour of Thomas Rendle is the second of eight that will be laid in Bristol over the next five years, each marking the anniversary of the action of VC holders closely connected to the city. The first recipient to be honoured was Douglas Reynolds (read about him HERE).
After the ceremony Show of Strength Theatre Company performed a specially commissioned show about Thomas Rendle's life. (Pictured above are actors Kim Hicks, Chris Yapp and Sheila Hannon). The performance took place at The Assembly, East Street. 'From Vagrant to VC' is one of the Bristol 2014 Arts Projects. Read more about Thomas Rendle HERE.
@Showofstrength @BristolRO @TLinson @EugeneByrne @Bristol2014 fabulous event Sheila - huge thanks for making it so special
@BristolRO @TLinson @EugeneByrne @brislordmayor @Bristol2014 Thomas Rendle engaged everybody today: from senior military to local residents.