Edward Brooks returned to Oxford a hero following his bravery in the First World War. Now his grandson hopes a new memorial will encourage a new generation to find out more about the sacrifice made by the armed forces. Michael Race reports

The grandson of First World War hero Edward Brooks hopes the unveiling of a new memorial will encourage a new generation to remember soldiers who fought for their country.

Soldiers from the barracks named after Company Sergeant Major Brooks officially unveiled a granite tablet during a ceremony in Rose Hill Cemetery.

The gleaming black memorial stone was commissioned by Keith Brooks, grandson of the company sergeant major, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroism during the Great War.

Mr Brooks paid Reeves Memorials of Magdalen Road, East Oxford, more than £1,000 to create the tribute, showing the Victoria Cross medal with his grandfather’s name below.

The 68-year-old from Horspath said he hoped the memorial would teach a new generation about the sacrifice made by all veterans.

The former digger driver added: “I have been trying to get a message over to people that every veteran needs to be remembered.

“I am pleased that the memorial is a tribute to my grandfather, but it should also be there for veterans who fought alongside him and from around the world.

“I cannot thank those soldiers enough for what they did, and I want children to remember the sacrifices they made.

“I would like to get more memorials to soldiers put up.

“For one thing it’s to help to prevent it happening again, and also it stops veterans being just forgotten about.

“If we don’t do things like this then all they will be is just a page in a history book.”

Mr Brooks, family members and friends gathered at the cemetery to unveil the badge on Saturday morning, with soldiers from 7 Rifles, based at Edward Brooks Barracks near Abingdon, next to Dalton Barracks.

An extract from the London Gazette on June 27, 1917, was read out, describing CSM Brooks of the 2/4th Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, capturing an enemy machine gun which prevented many casualties.

The Last Post rang out as people paid their respects to the war hero with a minute’s silence.

Mr Brooks said that he found the service very humbling and added he was thankful for all the people who attended the event.

He said: “I am very proud of my grandfather and what he did, along with every other veteran who did their bit.

“They all deserve the recognition for doing it. They never get enough.”

But it was not just the Victoria Cross and memorial tablet on display at the service, CSM Brooks’ great grandson David Green, from Long Hanborough, brought the hip flask, watch and whistle he used in the First World War.

Mr Green said: “I thought the unveiling was fantastic, especially for the family to see his medals and some of his possessions after all these years.

“We weren’t awarded the medal but to be related to someone who did is quite humbling really.

“The hip flask was on an officer who was under him.

“He was shot and the hip flask saved his life, but the next shot unfortunately killed him.

“The story goes that Edward went back to the family and told them about it and they told him to keep the flask.”

Mr Green wore the watch, which still works, for the service and a few family members blew the whistle used during the war.