Remembering an old hero as Crawley marks VE Day

First World war medals donated to Crawley Library (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150505-145721001
First World war medals donated to Crawley Library (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150505-145721001

The medals of a World War One soldier have been donated to Crawley Library by a man who used to sell him sausages.

Tom Redgrave, of Balcombe Road, was given the medals by William Cramp, of Hoggs Hill Farm, who fought at the battle of Gallipoli.

Private Cramp, who was known as Bert, earned the 1914-1915 Star and the 1914-1919 Victory Medal during his time with the 4th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment.

His friendship with Mr Redgrave, who ran Yetman’s butchers in Hazelwick Road, blossomed after they bonded over tales of their respective time in the military.

Mr Redgrave, who spent two years in uniform as he completed his National Service, said: “I used to say I was in there when they were feeding them not needing them.”

With no sons of his own to pass his medals to, Mr Cramp put them in Mr Redgrave’s safe keeping, knowing he would appreciate their worth.

Now aged 83, Mr Redgrave has passed them to Crawley Library where they will be used to educate future generations about the courage shown and sacrifices made by the men of Crawley during one of the country’s blackest periods.

Remembering his old friend, Mr Redgrave said: “He was a customer of mine and we often used to chat about the war. He was a lovely old fellow and used to come up on his bike to buy his sausages.

“He told me that at Gallipoli there was barbed wire under the water and the men were being picked off one by one by the Turks.”

The Gallipoli campaign was one of the most horrific of the Great War and saw more than 110,000 men from both sides killed and half a million wounded.

While Private Cramp escaped the horror relatively unscathed, his war was not without cost. He suffered frostbite and myalgia while serving in Malta and sustained a severe foot injury when an artillery cart ran over him in 1917.

While remembering the World One War hero who was his friend, Mr Redgrave called on people to take time out for those who fought in World War Two.

He said: “I think it’s very important we remember VE Day because of the amount of troops who gave their lives up to keep us free.”