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Ferdinand Maurice Felix West VC Grave Restoration and Rededication

7-8 May 2013

Air Commodore West VC was a 22 year old pilot on 8 Squadron flying a reconnaissance mission on an Armstrong Whitworth FK8 when in 1918 he came under heavy fire from German fighter aircraft sustaining an injury so bad he had to have his left leg amputated.  Upon landing behind Allied lines, the then Captain West insisted on reporting his findings from the mission despite being in excruciating pain.

No. 8 Squadron personnel during the cleanup.

Air Commodore West VC died in 1988 and was buried at Holy Trinity Church, Sunningdale, Windsor.  Sadly, over the years his grave has fallen in to a state of disrepair which is not uncommon for Victoria Cross burial plots.  Participating in the grave restoration is Officer Commanding 8 Squadron, Wing Commander Jim Beldon, who said: "Air Commodore Freddie West VC remains a highly imposing figure on 8 Squadron to this day.  We are exceptionally proud of his legacy: he was the first RAF airman to be awarded the VC following the RAF's formation in 1918, and his example of selfless bravery and determination have few equals even in the hallowed pantheon of Victoria Cross winners.  It is the very least we can do to visit his final resting place and, along with the Victoria Cross Trust, restore his grave to a standard befitting this most remarkable airman's service."

Wg Cdr Beldon, left, rededicates the grave.

Gary Stapleton, Victoria Cross Trust chairman said: "We are eternally grateful to those who see the continued memory of our military heroes as a priority, and who wish to help us preserve their final resting place in a state of utmost respect."  A Trust-appointed mason and restorer joined members of No. 8 Squadron for the two day clear up.  A re-dedication service to Air Commodore Ferdinand West VC was the final tribute as the newly restored memorial grave was unveiled.

Local news coverage:
Bracknell News
The Villager
ITV Local News

Biography: http://www.rafweb.org/Biographies/West_FMF.htm
This site also has a biography for Air Commodore West VC CBE ME.