Ipswich: Hero’s medal finally on parade...94 years later

IPSWICH: It took 94 years to get its first airing on parade, but nothing shone brighter during this year’s Remembrance Sunday parade than the Military Medal on Ryan Wood’s chest.

It was awarded in 1917 to his great-great grandfather Sgt Wilfred Howard after an act of heroism during the First World War.

Within weeks of that act of heroism he was dead – killed on the first day of the Third Battle of Arras on May 6, 1917.

The medal was presented to his widow and was passed down through the family. It was finally worn by 21-year-old Ryan, a sapper with the Royal Engineers based at Woodbridge, during yesterday’s Remembrance service at the Cenotaph in Ipswich.

Ryan followed a family tradition in joining the army and was delighted that the medal had finally been worn on parade.


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His mother, Carolyn, said she had known about the medal all her life: “I was raised by my grandmother who was seven when her father died in action.

“We think he knew about the medal, although it had not been presented at the time he died. It was presented to my great grandmother and there was a piece about that in the Star all those years ago.”

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Sgt Howard, who was a member of the Royal Field Artillery was awarded the medal after putting out a fire under a field gun before it could spread to ammunition.

By risking his own life he saved the gun and the ammunition and potentially saved the lives of several comrades who could have been killed or wounded in any explosion.

Like Wilfred, Ryan was born and brought up in Ipswich.

He has served two tours in Afghanistan – he was in that country for last year’s Remembrance service.

This was the first time the medal had been worn on parade and could be the last.

Mrs Wood said: “We are planning to have the medal and letters from Wilfred framed so it might be the last time it comes out like this – but we have always said we wanted it to go on parade at least once.”

n Have you got a special family tale to tell? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters @eveningstar.co.uk

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