Drayton to honour First World War veteran

Captain Harry Cator
Harry Cator. Image courtesy of Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service- Enjoy thousands of images of Norfolk’s unique history at www.picture.norfolk.gov.uk

Published: Monday, 3rd April 2017

First World War veteran and Victoria Cross recipient, Capt Harry Cator will be commemorated at a ceremonial event in his birth parish of Drayton on Sunday 9 April, 100 years since his actions which led to him being awarded the prestigious medal.

The event, hosted by Drayton Parish Council and Broadland District Council, is part of a nationwide scheme by the Department for Communities and Local Government which will see a commemorative paving stone laid in the place of birth of every VC recipient of the First World War.

All residents of Drayton are invited to the 100th anniversary ceremony which will begin with a service of reflection at 3pm at St Margaret’s Church and will be followed by the unveiling of the special paving stone in the adjacent Florence Carter Memorial Park. The paving stone is kindly being installed by R G Carter Holdings Ltd.

On 9 April 1917, whilst under heavy machine gun fire in the French town of Arras, the then Sergeant Cator made his way to the enemy trench with a companion who was killed almost immediately. Sergeant Cator succeeded in approaching the enemy and killed the machine gun team, allowing him to hold the trench until support could reach him. His actions led to the capture of enemy soldiers and further machine guns.

Following the war, Harry Cator returned to Norfolk, settling in Sprowston. He served as a captain in the Home Guard during the Second World War. He died in 1966, aged 72, and was laid to rest in Sprowston cemetery.

Cllr Graham Everett, Chairman of Drayton Parish Council said:

“This event will be an historic day for Drayton. It is a real privilege that we are able to honour Harry Cator’s courage in such a way and I am pleased that we can all be a part of it. I urge all Drayton residents to join us for the ceremony and to be a part of this special occasion.”

Phil Kirby, Chief Executive of Broadland District Council said:

“It is important that Harry Cator lives on in our local history and he, along with all others who have served in the military, is remembered in our community. The commemorative paving stone will allow local people to pay tribute to Captain Cator’s actions for years to come.”

The commemoration event is due to be attended by representatives from the armed forces and local civic figures. Capt Cator’s three grandchildren, who no longer live in Norfolk, have also accepted an invitation to the ceremony and have been offered accommodation courtesy of the Stower Grange Hotel on School Road.

An exhibition by children at Drayton Junior School will be open to the public at Drayton Village Hall on Sunday 9 April. The exhibition will present research by the local children about Capt Cator and the First World War.


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