The unveiling of two commemorative stones will take place in the Ashington Memorial Garden on Thursday 1 November. The event will recognise both Hugh Cairns VC & DCM, on the 100th Anniversary of the awarding of the Victoria Cross (VC), and the Ashington Airfield and its contribution to the WWI war effort. The Service will be led by the Reverend Michael Hedley, Minister of the Ashington Word of Life Wesleyan Reform Union Church.
Hugh Cairns was born in Ashington before his family emigrated to Canada in 1911. As WWI raged Hugh enlisted in the Canadian Army and received the Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1917. Hugh was then awarded the Victoria Cross on the 1 November 1918 for conspicuous bravery before dying of the wounds he received on the 2 November. The receipt of a commemorative stone is part of the UK Governments First World War centenary campaign that will see a total of 469 stones laid across towns and villages in the UK recognising, in their home towns, all those who received a Victoria Cross during WWI.
The service also provides an opportunity to recognise those that served at the Ashington Airfield and the important role it played, as part of Britain’s WWI Home Defence Stations, in winning the conflict. The Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust have provided a commemorative stone marking this contribution.
In organising the service Ashington Town Council has worked in partnership with the Ashington Branch of the Royal British Legion and Northumberland County Council. Cllr. David Ledger, the Armed Forces Champion for Northumberland County Council, will join us on the day.