Sutton Guardian helps track down family of Sutton-born VC winner Alfred Pollard

War Hero: Alfred Pollard is Sutton's only winner of a VC

War Hero: Alfred Pollard is Sutton's only winner of a VC

First published in News
Last updated
Sutton Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Relatives of the WW1 hero Alfred Pollard have spoken to the Sutton Guardian about their ancestor.

Pollard’s second cousin Andy Wright, and his third cousin Ellie Bunston got in touch after we asked local historian Andrew Arnold to help track them down.

Mr Wright’s mother Margaret Wright was Pollard’s niece, who at 94 is his oldest living relative. Mrs Wright was the daughter of his sister Lily, who served as a nurse during WW1.

Mr Wright owns several original copies of books written by his great uncle, and is fascinated by his ancestor’s life story.

In his autobiography ‘Fire-Eater. The Memoirs of a V.C.’, Pollard reveals he was naked when told he would be awarded the honour.

It states: "I accepted the general’s hand forgetting my nakedness.

"I said- ‘I am awfully sorry I can’t stand up sir, as a matter of fact I couldn’t find my pyjamas last night."

Sutton Guardian:

The photo above is from the ceremony at Buckingham Palace where Pollard was awarded his VC. Mr Wright is unable to identify which soldier is his ancestor.

Pollard was awarded the VC for his bravery in the Battle of Arras.

On April 29 1917 he was with a troop in Gavrelle, France, who fell apart after coming under heavy shellfire.

Second Lieutenant Pollard got four men together and launched an audacious counter attack, defeating the enemy assault.

To mark the 100th anniversary of WW1, the Department for Communities and Local Government are laying commemorative paving slabs in the hometowns of VC winners.

On Monday May 12 we reported Sutton Council are searching for relatives of Pollard, to help them decide where his tribute should be laid.

The government initiative will begin this year, but Pollard’s slab is due to be unveiled in April 2017.

Mr Wright, who lives in Ludlow, Shropshire, said: "It was not until my mid 20’s that I began to learn about Pollard and discovered he was a war hero.

"My grandmother never really told me about him, and my mother also knew very little.

"I think it would make the most sense for them to lay the slab outside where he lived in Sutton."

Sutton Guardian:

The Pollards at their Wallington home in 1912, from left: Alfred, his brother Frank, his sister Amy, his mother Eve, his sister Lily, sister Eva, and his father Alfred.

Alfred Pollard grew up in Belmont Road, Wallington, with his parents, his brother, and his three sisters.

Ellie Bunston, who lives in Upton, Oxfordshire, said: "I am very proud of my family history ,and hope that in 2017 I will be able to see the slab be laid.

"It will be nice to honour and remember Alfred with the rest of my family."
 

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