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Ceremonial plaque laid to honour Fifield's forgotten war hero

A ceremonial plaque has been unveiled at the Fifield Inn to commemorate the life of a forgotten war hero.

Henry Congdon, a former landlord at the pub in Fifield Road, died on May 28, 1918, after being hit by a shell while serving his country in France.

His name was displayed on war memorials in Sussex and Edinburgh but it failed to appear in the Bray parish due to his family moving out of the area.

But research by family members and Bray parish councillor Sandra Kieley uncovered his links to the parish, with well-wishers gathering on Monday to honour the fallen soldier.

Henry’s great-grandson John Smith said: “It’s absolutely wonderful that we’re remembering him and I’d also like to thank Sandra Kieley for all the research she’s done.”

John, who travelled up from Weston-super-Mare for the ceremony, laid a wreath beneath the plaque, which marks the 100th anniversary of Henry’s death.

Guests, including Prime Minister Theresa May, then observed a two minute’s silence.

Researcher Sandra spoke to the audience about Henry’s life which saw him awarded Victory, British, 15 Star and Croix de Guerre medals.

People also heard how he took over the running of The White Hart, now known as The Fifield Inn, in 1905 after serving for 21 years in the Royal Engineers.

Alongside his wife Mary, he raised five children with records from Braywood School showing his daughters registering there in 1905 with son James joining in 1909.

With the country going to war again in September 1914, Henry enlisted in the 12th Eastern Division of the Royal Engineers and went on to fight in two of the Battles of the Somme and the Battle of Bapaume before his death.

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