Published Monday, 21st September 2015

A special commemorative paving stone to honour Redhill-born First World War hero Second Lieutenant Rupert Price Hallowes VC is to be unveiled in Memorial Park on Friday 25 September.

The ceremony will mark the centenary of the battle for which he was awarded the prestigious Victoria Cross medal, the highest military decoration awarded for valour in the face of the enemy, for his heroic actions during World War I.

2Lt Rupert Price Hallowes VC

Lieutenant Hallowes who served in The Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment) was awarded the Victoria Cross for ‘his most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty’ during the battle at Hooge in Belgium which took place between 25 September and 1 October 1915.

Before the memorial stone is unveiled, a service of commemoration will be held at 12 noon in Memorial Park. 

The ceremony will be attended by the Mayor of Reigate & Banstead, Cllr Mrs Joan Spiers who will be joined by senior members of the Armed Forces, the Royal British Legion, civic guests and pupils from The Warwick and St Joseph’s schools. Members of 2Lt Hallowes surviving family have been invited to attend. 

Members of the public are welcome to attend the event to pay their respects.

The Mayor said about the ceremony: "Our Borough is proud to commemorate 2Lt Hallowes heroic actions and remember all those who served during the First World War, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

"It is important that such acts of courage and bravery are not forgotten by following generations and are acknowledged by the communities that these soldiers were fighting for.

"It is fitting that the stone is laid in Memorial Park as the park was created with funds raised by the borough’s residents after World War I to commemorate the fallen."

The VC memorial stone is part of a Government campaign that will see the stones laid in the birth places of First World War VC holders, to provide a lasting legacy to these local heroes and to give residents and future generations a greater understanding of their towns’ role in the First World War.

Memorial Park will also be dedicated a Centenary Field at the same event. The national scheme was set up to keep green spaces in perpetuity to honour the memory of the millions of people who have lost their lives in war or conflict.

2 Lt Rupert Price Hallowes' story

Rupert Price Hallowes was born on 5 May 1881 at Station Road, Redhill. He was educated at Haileybury College in Hertfordshire and later worked for Harold Flower of Gracechurch Street in the City of London. 

He moved to Wales in 1910 to work for Robert Byass and Co and was appointed assistant manager of the Mansel Tinplate Works in Port Talbot, where his elder brother William Brabazon Hallowes was the manager. He was also assistant secretary of the Boy Scouts Association in Port Talbot.

A pre-war Territorial soldier, Rupert Hallowes arrived in France on 28 October 1914. He was Commissioned on 14 April 1915 and served with the 4th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment.

Throughout the battle at Hooge, for which he was awarded his VC, 2Lt Hallowes was reported as displaying great bravery and untiring energy, setting a magnificent example to his men during four heavy bombardments.

He made daring reconnaissances of the German positions in our lines. When the supply of bombs was running short he went back under very heavy shell fire and brought up a fresh supply. On more than one occasion he climbed on to the parapet, utterly regardless of danger, to put fresh heart into his men.

He was mortally wounded when a bomb was dropped on his trench and died on 30 September 1915, aged 34.

As well as the Victoria Cross 2Lt Hallowes was awarded the Military Cross. He is buried at the Bedford House Cemetery in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. 

A fuller biography is available from the National Army Museum website.