Parade honours Cwmbran hero of Zulu war

Free Press Series: Submitted picJohn Fielding 1857 - 1932from the book Zulu War Heroes (3505669) Submitted picJohn Fielding 1857 - 1932from the book Zulu War Heroes (3505669)

MEMBERS of the Royal Welsh Regimental Association paraded through the streets of a Gwent town to remember a Victoria Cross hero of the Anglo-Zulu War.

Around 150 people joined a remembrance service in Cwmbran on Saturday [January 18] in honour of Pte John Williams (Fielding).

He was one of 11 soldiers to be honoured with a VC for defending a station against up to 4,000 Zulus in the 1879 Battle of Rorke’s Drift immortalised in the Michael Caine film Zulu.

His great grandson Peter Fielding, 56, said: “The service was ever so well attended.

“It was lovely to see so many turn out for people who have fallen and given their lives.

“John was my great grandfather, so for us it is something very special.

“For Llantarnam and Cwmbran he was a local boy and came back from the war with an honour.

“Today’s event was gratifying and humbling.”

The parade stopped at St Michael and All Angels church in Llantarnam Road, Llantarnam, for a memorial service, which takes place each year.

Rev Canon Brian Pippen took part in the service including readings and the singing of God Save the Queen.

Rev Pippen said: “It is a very important occasion. It helps us to focus on events of the past that have made a huge difference to our national existence.

“The way it is done locally is pleasing, it is done with great respect and dignity.”

Stuart Cameron, 66, the secretary of the John Fielding Trust, said: “Around 150 people attended. It was one of our biggest events for some time.”

Alan Terry, 79, of Cwmbran and District Ex-Servicemen's Association, laid a wreath at the soldier’s grave in the church cemetery.

He said: “There is a lot of added interest this year.

“This is a year when our troops are coming home from Afghanistan.

“It is going to be celebrated. These men and women who lost their lives in Afghanistan will not be forgotten either.”

John O’Connor, 85, of the Pontypool Royal Welsh Regimental Association, added: “We must keep it up and not allow it to fade away. We will remember them.”

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