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Press Release

William Bridges and his men

William Bridges and his men

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Image of William Bridges wearing military uniform

Image of William Bridges wearing military uniform

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14 August 2020

Fareham remembers another soldier who died fighting for his country

As the nation marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War with VJ Day, Fareham has remembered another hero soldier from the town who died fighting for his country.

The name of William Bridges has been added to the Fareham War Memorial following a request from his great nephew that his sacrifice in the First World War should be recognised in this way.

Sergeant Bridges served in the 26th and then 35th heavy batteries of the Royal Garrison Artillery that was based at Fort Wallington from 1908. Originally from Canning Town in London, he settled in Fareham and married Annie Elizabeth Smith in 1916.

He went with the battery to France in August 1914 at the outbreak of the war. During his service he was promoted to sergeant and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Military Medal.

His citation for the DCM read: “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in action. He showed complete disregard of danger, and his fine example of coolness and determination had an inspiring effect on his men.”

He died in action in France on July 20,1918, just a few months before the end of the war. He was 26 years old. He has a war memorial in Louvencourt Military Cemetery in France.

His great nephew is also a soldier. Major Andy Cockburn of the Royal Signals Reserves contacted the Council to ask if his great uncle’s name could be added to the war memorial in the town centre.

Major Cockburn said: “It is fantastic that Fareham Council has very kindly added my great uncle’s name to the memorial. Although he was from East London he was based in Fareham for a number of years before landing in France with his Battery early on in WW1.

“I had heard about William from my Grandfather who I was close to. He was a family hero and a real inspiring example for future generations.”

 

Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Seán Woodward, said: “Sergeant Bridges was one of many brave men who were based in Fareham before being sent to the battlefields in France and he deserves to have his name on the war memorial.

“He was a highly-decorated soldier with his two medals for bravery and gave his life for our country at the very young age of 26. We will remember him along with all the others that gave their lives for our freedom.”


ENDS


Notes to Editor:

The Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council can decide to add the names of servicemen that died in active service, with a clear connection to the borough of Fareham.

When a request is received, we ask the person submitting the request to provide information about the person concerned, such as place of birth, details of the military service, date of death in the service of their country. We appreciate not all of these details may be known.

If we can validate the information provided the Executive Leader is asked to approve the name being added to the War Memorial. When this is obtained arrangements are put in hand to add the name on the War Memorial concerned.

If anyone would like to see the addition of a name to any of the borough’s war memorials they should contact customerservicecentre@fareham.gov.uk

For further information contact:

Customer Enquiries

Tel: 01329 236100
Email: customerservicecentre@fareham.gov.uk

Media Enquiries

The Communications Team
Tel: 01329 824310
Email: publicity@fareham.gov.uk
Fax: 01329 550576

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Fareham Borough Council, Civic Offices, Civic Way, Hampshire, PO16 7AZ
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