Blue plaque planned for Trafford war hero on 75th anniversary of his death

edward charlton

Trafford Council is planning to commemorate the 75th anniversary of one of the borough’s war heroes who was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Edward Charlton was killed in action and honoured for his life-saving heroism just before the end of the Second World War.

Guardsman Charlton was born in Gateshead in 1920, and moved to Stretford at the age of five where he attended St Hilda’s Primary School and Old Trafford Senior Boys’ School. He enlisted in the Guards Brigade and having served in the 2nd Battalion Irish Guards, was subsequently sent to the Guards Armoured Division 1st Squadron as a tank co-driver.

On 21st April 1945, the brave soldier was the co-driver of a tank which, with platoon of infantry, seized the village of Wistedt, Germany. When attacked by the enemy, Guardsman Charlton, on his own initiative, decided to counter attack, inflicting heavy casualties. Despite being wounded several times, he continued firing until he collapsed from his injuries. He died later that day of his wounds in enemy hands in Elsdorf, Germany. His courageous and selfless disregard for his own safety allowed the rest of the Irish Guards troop and infantry to escape.

Unusually much of the citation for his VC was based on German accounts of the fight and reads, ‘the heroism and determination of this Guardsman in his self-imposed task were beyond all praise’.

His posthumously awarded VC was received by his family at Buckingham Palace. It was the last VC to be awarded in the European campaign and the last to date to be awarded to a member of the Irish Guards.

A planned ceremony to unveil Guardsman Charlton’s blue plaque in Stretford has been postponed due to the current outbreak of covid-19, but Trafford Council intends to mark the anniversary later this year alongside members of his family.

Liz Patel, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Leisure said:

Guardsman Charlton’s story is incredibly humbling and a reminder of the bravery and great sacrifices made by members of his generation for the benefit of the nation.

We look forward to seeing the blue plaque in pride of place in his memory later this year.”

Posted on Thursday 23rd April 2020