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Sergeant Fred Greaves VC
9th Bn Sherwood Foresters ( Notts & Derbys) Regiment
Born 16 May 1890 Killamarsh, Derbyshire
Died 11 June 1973 Brimington, Derbyshire
Won the Victoria Cross on 4th October 1917 at Poelcapelle, Nr Ypres Belgium
Growing up in Brimington, we were always aware that we had a Victoria Cross winner living in the village. Then a few years ago Fred Greaves name came to the fore again in our local press, after someone suggested naming a new road after him. As we were already heavily involved in our research of the Great war, we'd read about Fred a Corporal then- and of the Belgium village - Poelkappelle - where he'd won his prestigious award, and we'd visited the cemetery there where many of his comrades had died in the battle - so we decided to learn more.
On a hot July day, armed with a photo of Fred taken from the Derbyshire Times, we headed for Poelkappelle to try and pinpoint the place where he'd won his VC. By chance we called at a small cafe 'Cafe de Zwann' in the village with the intention of having a drink and getting our bearings, when the young cafe owner, spotting the photo in my hand called out ' Fred Greaves!' We were astounded, and he pointed to a plaque on the cafe wall which was a kind of shrine to Fred. He explained that the village of Poelkappelle still hold Fred Greaves in the highest regard.
It seemed an incredible co-incidence for us to choose that particular cafe, amongst a number of others open there that day. We took photos of the cafe owner and his wife, holding the ' Fred Greaves' plaque and sent a letter to the 'Derbyshire Times' .
We sent a copy of the Derbyshire Times article to the cafe owners, and they were thrilled.
We've been back to Poelkappelle a number of times, and had a particularly memorable few days there, staying in a charming little b &b called T Oud Gemeentehuis. Unfortunately by then the Cafe De Zwann had changed hands and we were told the Fred Greaves shrine had moved with the owners.
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