Student James Kelly represented Old Swinford Hospital at a memorial service to honour a forgotten WWI Stourbridge soldier nearly 100 years after his death.
James who is a member of the OSH CCF Air Cadets, was chosen to read ‘The Soldier’ by Rupert Brooke in memory of Cpl Harry Whitwell, of the 9th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, who died in 1917, but whose name was not commemorated on a memorial in Worcestershire.
The Mayor of Dudley and other dignitaries, RAF cadets, Royal British Legion and Regimental Association members attended the service organised by the Worcestershire based Remember the Fallen group and Dudley Council, following a campaign by Corporal Whitwell’s great nephew Paul Nash.
Harry Whitwell and his brother Thomas lived in Oldswinford and enlisted with the Worcestershire Regiment in August 1914. Thomas was killed in action in France in May 1917 and Harry a few months earlier in Mesopotamia. For reasons still unknown, Thomas’ name was included on the Stourbridge cenotaph in Mary Stevens Park, but not Harry’s.
“It was a very moving service and I was honoured to be asked to take part in remembering the fallen from WW1” said James Kelly, aged 15.