Ex-ser­vice­man takes on graves mis­sion

79-year-old de­cides to keep burial plots tidy

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Lor­can Lovett lor­can.lovett@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A FOR­MER ser­vice­man whose fa­ther fought in the First World War has made it his mis­sion to en­sure sol­diers’ graves are well looked after.

Terry Grey, 79, of School Lane, Chal­font St Peter, tends the graves of the nine sol­diers from both world wars which are in ceme­ter­ies around the vil­lage.

The for­mer gov­er­nor of Chal­font St Peter Academy was of­fered £50 by the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion to cut ivy off the stones, keep­ing them clean, putting wooden crosses on them through­out the year and plac­ing wreaths dur­ing the time of com­mem­o­ra­tion in Novem­ber.

Mr Grey, whose fa­ther

Terry Grey will take care of the war graves was in the Royal Fly­ing Corps dur­ing the First World War, re­fused the money.

“I would be of­fended to take money to do that,” he said. “Half an hour ev­ery now and then to keep their graves look­ing nice is no big deal.

“It is no big job and the sol­diers have to be treated with re­spect. They need re­spect and re­mem­brance and it’s good all the chil­dren are be­ing told about this as part of their ed­u­ca­tion.”

Vil­lagers may see Mr Grey col­lect­ing for the Poppy Ap­peal out­side Bud­gens su­per­mar­ket in Mar­ket Place when he is not tend­ing to the sol­diers’ plots in ceme­ter­ies such as St Paul’s Church in Horn Hill and The Gar­den of Rest in Den­ham Lane.

He has no­ticed a boost in col­lec­tions this year and put it down to the cen­te­nary of the start of the First World War, which he says ‘ has re­ally got to peo­ple’.

Mr Grey was in­spired to main­tain the graves after a trip with Chal­font St Peter Academy years ago to the Com­mon­wealth War Graves in Bayeux.

He was touched by the fields of crosses and has re­turned an­nu­ally with a friend.

He was sta­tioned in Ger­many for his Na­tional Ser­vice and is proud to look after the graves, one of which is that of VC holder Lieu­tenan­tCom­man­der Ge­of­frey He­neage Drum­mond (Jan­uary 25, 1886 – April 21, 1941).

Photo by Grant Humphreys www.buyapho­totms.co.uk WL201411072

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