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Lasting tribute to Leicester war hero to be unveiled in city

Published on Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A WORLD WAR I hero who received the Victoria Cross will be honoured at a commemorative ceremony in the city later this week.

Captain Robert Gee, VC, MC, who was born in Leicester, served in the 2nd Batallion, The Royal Fusiliers. On Thursday (30 November), a specially designed paving stone will be unveiled in Capt Gee’s honour at Leicester’s Town Hall Square.

The ceremony marks exactly the centenary of events for which Capt Gee was awarded the Victoria Cross. On 30 November, 1917, at Masnières and Les Rues Vertes, France, an enemy attack captured brigade headquarters.

Capt Gee managed to escape and launched a successful counter-attack, clearing the area, launching a defensive flank and capturing an enemy machine gun in the process. He was injured, but refused to have his wound dressed until he knew the defensive flank was organised.

He later went into politics and served as an MP before emigrating to Australia, where he died, aged 84, in 1960.

The unveiling of the commemorative slab is part of a national campaign, first announced by the Government in 2013.  The campaign is honouring the 628 recipients of the Victoria Cross from Word War I by laying paving stones close to where they were born, exactly 100 years after the events for which they awarded the Victoria Cross.

The Lord Mayor of Leicester, Councillor Rashmikant Joshi, said: “This commemorative stone is a fitting way to honour the bravery of Captain Robert Gee. This project provides a lasting legacy of local heroes within communities and helps people to gain a greater understanding of how their area fits into the World War I story.

“Here in Leicester, we are honoured and privileged to commemorate the brave actions of Capt Gee, and I am delighted to be involved in the ceremony that will mark the unveiling of this permanent tribute to his bravery.”

Anyone can watch the unveiling of the stone, which will take place in Town Hall Square around 2.45pm on Thursday 30 November. A short ceremony will include The Last Post and a minute’s silence.