With Armistice Day fast approaching, it’s hard for all of us not to remember the brave sacrifices made during World War I, but for Tony Howard and his son, Kieran from Stainsacre, Whitby, remembrance of local war heroes was prompted even on holiday this October.
While visiting the Hooge Crater Museum in Belgium, the father and son were surprised to come across an exhibit detailing the wartime actions of a Whitby-born soldier, Charles Patton.
Charles joined the Yorkshire Regiment in 1915, and was swiftly posted first to Gallipoli, until the Allies withdrew their forces, and then posted to Flanders, Belgium.
It was here, while marching to the front, that Charles recovered a crucifix in the rubble of Ypres, a Belgian municipality which was frequently bombed due to its standing as a strategic position for Germany in the war.
Charles brought the crucifix to England on his return from Flanders. Sadly, he died in 1921 from kidney failure, as a direct result of the conditions in the trenches. However, the crucifix remained in his family for 90 years, until his great granddaughter, Joanna Clemmit of Whitley Bay, decided to return it to the Hooge Crater War Museum in Belgium.
It is currently on display in its own glass cabinet, along with the letters sent from Joanna Clemmit to the museum explaining its history.