|A CEREMONY HAS BEEN HELD IN STREATHAM VALE CEMETERY, SOUTH LONDON, TO PLACE A HEADSTONE OVER THE PREVIOUSLY UNMARKED GRAVE OF CORPORAL ARTHUR CROSS VC, MM.|
|Streatham Vale Cemetery, 27 September 2001|
|Corporal Arthur Henry Cross VC, MM, was a long time member of the Machine Gun Corps Old Comrades' Association and when he died in 1965 the MGC / OCA arranged his funeral and adherred to his wish that his burial would be a simple affair.
No headstone marked his grave in Streatham Vale Cemetery, although there was a small headstone commemorating his second wife and two children who were killed during the Blitz in 1941. Arthur Cross' first wife also lies elsewhere in the cemetery in an unmarked grave.
|The idea to erect a proper marker over Arthur Cross' grave was first suggested by Geoff Willars who, after contacting the the MGC / OCA, made a significant donation to start a fund to erect a headstone, after which Judith Lappin, the Honorary Secretary of the MGC / OCA, took up the challenge.
Various interested parties and relatives contributed funds to the project and following a feature about the fundraising in "This England" magazine further donations were made by readers and the Editor generously agreed to provide whatever further money was needed to purchase the headstone. OCA Committee Member, Robert Collister BEM, managed to trace Victor Cross, son of Arthur Cross, who gave permission for a headstone to be placed over his father's grave on condition his mother's name be included. ( Sadly Victor Cross died before the ceremony took place ).
The service, held on Thursday, 27th September 2001, arranged by Judith Lappin of the MGC / OCA, was officiated by the Association's Honorary Chaplain, Colonel ( Rtd ) The Reverend John Barrie. The material carefully chosen for the headstone comprised green granite with silver lettering.
[ London Gazette, 4 June 1918 ]. Ervillers, France, 25 March 1918, Corporal Arthur Cross, 40th Bn, Machine Gun Corps.
"For most conspicuous bravery and initiative, Lance Corporal Cross volunteered to make a reconnaissance of the position of two machine guns which had been captured by the enemy. He advanced single handed to the enemy trench and with his revolver forced seven of the enemy to surrender and carry the machine guns with their tripods and ammunition to our lines. He then handed over his prisoners, collected items for his guns, which he brought into action with exceptional dash and skill, annihilating a very heavy attack by the enemy.Arthur Cross was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 4th September 1918.
A few weeks later, Lance Corporal Cross won a further award for gallantry, the Military Medal ( MM ), when he held a bridge against a German attack.
In the 1950's Arthur Cross loaned his Victoria Cross to the actor David Niven to wear during the filming of "Carrington VC", a British film made at Pinewood Studios, England.
( select to enlarge )
|Medal entitlement of Corporal Arthur Cross,
40th Bn, Machine Gun Corps
Iain Stewart, 2 October 2001