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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 January, 2005, 03:21 GMT
Memorial service for VC war hero
Capt Richard Annand
Capt Annand was wounded in action in Belgium
A memorial service for a war hero who was awarded the Army's first Victoria Cross of World War Two is to be held at Durham Cathedral.

The service of thanksgiving for Captain Richard Annand, from Durham will take place on 7 February.

Capt Annand died in the University Hospital of North Durham on Christmas Eve, aged 90.

He served with Durham Light Infantry and received the honour at the age of 25, for a rescue in Belgium in 1940.

Senior Army officers are due to give addresses at the cathedral service.

More than 200 people gathered at St Cuthbert's Church, in Durham, earlier this month to pay their respects to Capt Annand.

He was awarded the honour when, as a second lieutenant, he was involved in fighting an enemy bridging party in Belgium in May 1940 when his men ran out of ammunition.

He faced mortar and machine-gun fire as he launched a single-handed attack armed only with hand grenades.

Last Post

Although he was wounded, he managed to get back to his platoon and later attempted to rescue his badly injured batman in a wheelbarrow before collapsing from his wounds.

A spokesman for Durham Cathedral said: "At the service General Sir Peter de la Billiere and Brigadier Tim Gregson will also read from Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan.

"Buglers from the 2nd Battalion Light Infantry will play the Last Post and Reveille.

"Apart from Capt Annand's distinguished service as a soldier, his untiring work for the disabled, particularly the North East League for the Hard of Hearing, will be remembered with gratitude at this service. "

As a result of the wounds he received in Belgium, Capt Annand was invalided back to England and eventually discharged on medical grounds, mainly due to hearing loss.

Capt Annand was married to Shirley and, in 1979, he showed his bravery again when he dived into the River Tyne to rescue her when she fell in.

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23 Nov 04 |  West Yorkshire
Hero's story told on underground
08 Nov 04 |  South Yorkshire

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