RESIDENTS of a village near York will be joined tomorrow by the Archbishop of York and officials from a French village in remembering a long forgotten hero of the First World War.

Harry Blanshard Wood, who was born in Newton Upon Derwent, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Saint-Python, France, in October 1918.

He is said to have lain down behind a large brick and fired continuously at snipers to cover his men while they worked their way across a river, and then repeatedly driven off enemy counter-attacks.

He was the only soldier from the East Riding of Yorkshire to receive the highest award for gallantry during the conflict and his medal is on display at York’s Castle Museum.

Now exactly 100 years on, his bravery is to be marked with the unveiling of a special memorial plinth in the village. A civic reception, including a special service and military parade, will take place on the village’s only street at 12.30pm.

The stone will be dedicated and blessed by the Archbishop, Dr John Sentamu, and a wreath will be laid by East Riding of Yorkshire Council chair, Cllr Margaret Chadwick.

Residents will be joined by surviving relatives of Harry, the East Riding Lord Lieutenant, Susan Cunliffe-Lister, and representatives from the Scots Guards, the regiment to which Harry belonged.

Officials from the French village where his brave actions saved many servicemen’s lives are also making the journey to Yorkshire.

Almost 400 people are expected to turn up – more than double the village’s population.

The event, supported by a heritage lottery grant, has been organised by Newton’s local history group and the council.

Group spokeswoman Margaret Horsley said that until recently, many people in the village were unaware of Harry’s existence. “In this special commemorative year to mark a hundred years since the end of the First World War, we felt it was time he was properly recognised,” she said.

“This permanent memorial will ensure his bravery on the battlefield will be remembered by future generations.”