SERVING soldiers paid their respects as a VC hero was officially recognised in his adopted town.
Five members of the 12th Regiment Royal Artillery were among the onlookers as a commemorative stone for Major General Sir Christopher Teesdale was unveiled in Bognor Regis.
Major Lee Smith, of the 12th Regiment, said it was important servicemen and women paid tribute to their predecessors in the RA who fought in conflicts such as the Crimean War.
“Those actions which Sir Christopher took 160 years ago inspired the current generation in their operations, most recently in Afghanistan.
“He showed what true leadership is all about as a junior officer and what soldiers are capable of when facing those kind of dangers,” he said.
“The human aspect of that leadership is timeless, even though the technology changes, and that inspires every young soldier and officer that joins the British Army.”
The contingent travelled from the regiment’s base on Thorney Island for the occasion at the town’s war memorial last Thursday.
Some 70 people watched in light rain as the commemorative stone was revealed by the town’s mayor, Tony Gardiner.
He told them: “It is important the VC hero from this town is remembered.”
The Rev Roger Calder, chaplain to the Royal Regiment Artillery, said: “Sir Christopher was one of the earliest recipients of the VC.
“Less than 200 of them have been awarded, 12 of those have been to the RA.”
He referred to the most recent award, announced just a day earlier for a soldier’s actions in Afghanistan, by saying it showed how VCs were still relevant.
“As we give thanks for, and commemorate, this hero who finally settled in Bognor,” he said, “it’s a good thing to remember that, as we speak, young men and women are still out there sacrificing their lives ultimately for our benefit.”
He spoke two prayers, one in Sir Christopher’s memory, at which the four service standards present were dipped by their bearers.