Barking & Dagenham war heroes remembered

BARKING and Dagenham war heroes will be immortalised when streets are named after them. Twelve inspirational individuals have been chosen, but the list remains a work in progress as council chiefs continue to scour archives and websites in search of for

BARKING and Dagenham war heroes will be immortalised when streets are named after them.

Twelve inspirational individuals have been chosen, but the list remains a "work in progress" as council chiefs continue to scour archives and websites in search of forgotten heroes.

Military personnel who died less than two decades ago cannot be included, but recipients of the Elizabeth Cross - the relatives of soldiers killed in action or terrorist attacks - will be considered.

The 12 are:


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Lance-Corporal John Sayer held an isolated post for two hours in the face of incessant attacks until nearly all his garrison was killed at Le Verguier, north France, on March 21, 1918.

Mr Sayer, of Wangey Farm, Station Road, Chadwell Heath, was wounded, captured and died as a result of wounds at Le Cateau on April 18, 1918. He was 39.

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He received the Victoria Cross and is commemorated in St Chad's Church, St Chad's Road, Chadwell Heath.

Sir Tasker Watkins single-handedly charged two gun posts and saved the lives of his men while stationed in France on August 16, 1944.

He grew up in Dagenham, was attached to the Welsh Regiment and was the Honorary Life Vice Patron of the Welsh Rugby Union Association. He won the Victoria Cross.

Sgt Laurence Calvert, of Oglethorpe Road, Dagenham, captured two machine guns and killed their crews on the French battlefront and was awarded the Victoria Cross at Havrincourt, north France, on September 12, 1918.

He died in 1964 aged 72.

Dagenham farmer William Hope rescued two wounded soldiers lying outside trenches under heavy fire from Russian batteries during the Crimean War.

Lt Hope was honoured with the Victoria Cross on June 18, 1855, and died in 1909.

Job Drain, of Greatfields Road, Barking, has also been included on the list.

He volunteered for the army in 1912 aged 17 and went on to save two artillery guns under heavy shell and rifle fire two years later.

He won his Victoria Cross at the Battle of Le Cateau on August 24, 1914, and served until the end of World War One.

During the Blitz in World War Two, volunteer S. J. Ferguson risked his life as he gave first aid to a woman bleeding from a severed artery under the wreckage of a Barking house amid flames from incendiary bombs.

He received the George Medal following the rescue on the night of October 17, 1940.

Capt Samuel Garside received the George Medal after safely detonating a 500kg UXB bomb at McNeils Wharf, Barking, on September 24, 1940.

Able-Seaman Stephen Tuckwell and Sub-Lt John Miller worked in and under water, with help from crane drivers to drag out and defuse a mine stuck in mud in the River Roding running into Barking Creek in the early days of the Blitz. They both displayed "undaunted devotion" and received the George Medal.

And Richard Moore used a drill to split an unexploded mine in two, without any practical training, outside a Dagenham factory on September 20, 1940. He was honoured with the George Cross.

World War Two bomb disposal experts Lt Cdrs Richard Ryan and Reginald Ellingworth paid with their lives as they tackled a mine hanging by a parachute in a warehouse in Oval Road North, Dagenham.

They were killed as the unexploded bomb, with a 22-second delay, blew up when they entered the building on September 21, 1940.

They were awarded the George Cross posthumously for their "great gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty".

The 12 heroes were named by the Cabinet last week for the street-naming honour.

Regeneration Cabinet member, Labour Cllr Mick McCarthy, said: "It's respectful.

"It's doing something in a small way. We have memorials at Barking Park, in Dagenham in the Heathway. It takes it a little bit further.

"I'm supportive of it, it's better than calling streets after old councillors. These men have sacrificed their lives.

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