Memorials to honour foreign soldiers who won the Victoria Cross while serving in the British armed forces during the First World War have been created by a High Peak company to mark the centenary of the conflict.
Leander Architectural, in Dove Holes, has been commissioned by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to produce 11 plaques, one for each of the Commonwealth and overseas countries whose citizens received Britain’s highest award for battlefield valour.
The bronze plaques - each with decorative Victoria Cross symbol and etched with the names of the VC recipients - are to be shipped to the respective countries to be permanently displayed in embassies, consulates and war cemeteries, including at Arlington in the USA.
But before departing for foreign shores, the plaques will be go on show for a few hours in the state rooms of Lancaster House in London this afternoon (Thursday), to be viewed by ambassadors and other foreign dignitaries.
Ted McAvoy, managing partner at family-run architectural metalwork specialists Leander, said: “It is such a wonderful honour to have been chosen to produce these plaques for the centenary.
“I certainly had no idea there were so many foreign recipients of the VC from the First World War.
“The plaques vary in size, depending on the country and the number of its citizens which received the VC.
“There are one or two plaques, such as Ukraine for example, which contains just one named recipient, compared to the likes of Australia, which features 70 names.”
A team effort involving all 13 of his employees, Mr McAvoy reserved special praise for worker John Nicholson, whose steady hands were responsible for the delicate polishing and finishing of the completed plaques.
It’s not the first time that Leander has undertook special commissions for authorities and UK organisations.
In 2012 the company manufactured a plaque at the request of the Commonwealth Secretariat which was presented to her Majesty the Queen to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee.