THE annual parade in memory of Cwmbran’s Zulu War hero, Private John Williams (Fielding) VC, is due to go ahead on January 18.

The annual parade and service is to take place at St Michael and All Angels Church, Llantarnam.

It is organised by Cwmbran and District Ex-Service Association (CADESA).

In the 1879 Battle at Rorke’s Drift, Private John Fielding, from Ty Coch in Cwmbran, served as Pte John Williams and received the Victoria Cross after defending a remote station against 4,000 Zulus.

The graveside service, conducted by the curate, Rev Frieda Evans, is to start at 11am.

Those who wish to attend are asked to be at the church by no later than 10.30am to await the arrival of the parade at 10.50am.

Blaenavon Town Band is to lead the parade of representatives of CADESA, The Royal Welsh Regimental Association (Pontypool branch) and the Royal Engineers Association.

Those attending are advised to wear suitable footwear because of the uneven ground in the churchyard.

The landlords of The Greenhouse Inn have agreed the use of their car park on the morning, so people are encouraged to make use of this facility.

A temporary road closure will be in force in the area of the church from 10.30am.

Last year the event was given extra significance with the unveiling of a new £4,000 headstone on the soldier’s grave.

More than 90 veterans joined in the parade and hundreds of people supported the event.

There were also eight standards from different regimental associations joining the parade that arrived at the grave for a special ceremony.

Around 150 people looked on as two of his grandchildren unveiled the new headstone. This was funded through a trust that was set up in 2002 and various grants.

Speaking at the time, John Williams (Fielding) VC Trust chairman Lewis Freeman said: “The original stone had been there since his death in 1932 and was crumbling. This new one should now last for over 100 years.

“It is fitting as he is a local man and a national hero.”