After a century a brave Dalesman was finally honoured at his place of birth this week (April 10).
Private Arthur Poulter from East Witton near Middleham is the only recipient from the Yorkshire Dales of the country’s highest award for gallantry, the Victoria Cross.
On April 10, 1918 acting as a stretcher-bearer, at Erquinghem-Lys in France Arthur Poulter earned his place amongst this select band. His citation read: “On ten occasions Private Poulter carried badly wounded men on his back to a safe locality, through a particularly heavy artillery and machine-gun barrage.”
Poulter himself was temporarily blinded during the action. Later that year after partially recovering from his wounds he was presented with his medal by King George V at Buckingham Palace.
The commemoration on Tuesday April 10 included church entry of the standards accompanied by the Regimental March; and a tribute by the Lord Lieutenant Barry Dodd. – and was attended by 15 members of Private Poulter’s family.
The commemoration led by Rev Liz Moody and Jeff Payne also saw Major David Harrap read a short biography; a soldier from the Yorkshire Regiment read the citation; Jaqueline Wells read ‘the Redeemer’ by war poet Siegfried Sassoon and Richmondshire District Councillor Karin Sedgwick, read John 15: to lay down one’s life for friends.
Wreaths were laid in church by the Lord Lieutenant, the family, Richmondshire Chairman, Angie Dale, East Witton and North Yorkshire councils along with the RBL, Yorkshire Regiment and Duke of Wellington’s Association. Music was provided by Sir Tom Oakshott and the Yorkshire Volunteers Band.
A flagstone marking Private Poulter’s achievement is now in place at the village war memorial.