Wyre Forest District Council has announced the arrangements for the official unveiling of the VC paving stone to commemorate Captain Eustace Jotham VC. Local people will have the chance to view the stone before it is installed and are welcome to attend the ceremony.
Captain Jotham was born in Kidderminster in 1883. Originally commissioned in the Prince of Wales’s (North Staffordshire) Regiment in 1903, he transferred to the Indian Army two years later and was promoted to Captain with the 51st Sikhs in 1912.
During operations in the Tochi Valley area of the North West Frontier, in what is now Pakistan, he was attached to the North Waziristan Militia. On 7 January 1915, commanding a small party of about a dozen, Jotham and his men were surrounded by about 1,500 tribesmen. He gave the order to retire, and could have escaped, but gallantly gave his own life in trying to rescue one of his men who had lost his horse.
The paving stone to commemorate Captain Jotham has been provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government as part of a Government initiative to commemorate all the First World War recipients of Britain’s highest gallantry award for bravery in the face of the enemy.
The stone to commemorate Captain Jotham will be officially unveiled in a ceremony at 2pm on Wednesday 7 January 2015, the centenary of the action in which he won the VC. The paving stone will be installed near the foot of the Angel of Peace, outside St Mary’s and All Saints Church in Kidderminster.
Councillor Stephen Williams, the Chairman of the Council, said:
“It will be an honour for me to perform the official unveiling ceremony and members of the public will be most welcome to attend. I hope local residents will also take the opportunity to view the paving stone at Wyre Forest House next week.”
The paving stone will be on display in the foyer of Wyre Forest House, the Council’s headquarters, from 10am to 5pm on Monday 22 December and Tuesday 23 December and from 10am to 3pm on Wednesday 24 December.