A MEMORIAL slab dedicated to one of Odiham’s most prominent war heroes was laid last week.

On June 22, around a hundred people, including an array of distinguished guests, came to see the laying of a memorial slab for Manley James VC.

The ceremony was conducted at the Odiham War Memorial in High Street, with 10 members of the James family in attendance as well as the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson.

The memorial slab is on the second wing of the Odiham War Memorial.

After the slab was laid, Major General Robin Grist, from the Gloustershire Regiment, one of James’ old regiments, spoke at the service of dedication, with one of James’ grandsons, Edward.

Simon Lloyd, chairman of the Odiham and District Branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “It was a very successful event. We were honoured with having members of the James family coming to see the memorial slab be revealed.

“We were very well supported by RAF Odiham, and it was a lovely day.”

Manley James fought in both world wars, and was injured in both. He was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1919 by King George V after he returned from Germany where he was held as a prisoner of war.

Simon added: “He was a real hero who served in both wars, and he had a quite extraordinary record, he had been awarded the Military Cross, the Victoria Cross, and a Distinguished Service Order (DSO).

“That puts him in an almost unique situation, to receive all three accolades during his career. To do all this and then live to die in his bed at home really gives him a quite interesting history.

“Right up until his end, he was understated about his actions.”

It is said that when he was asked about his distinguished career, James said that he was ‘only doing my duty’.