MP commemorates First World War hero in Jerusalem for Thame Remembers project

MP John Howell at the grave of Richard Hewer in Jerusalem
MP John Howell at the grave of Richard Hewer in Jerusalem

A hero of the Great War has been commemorated by Thame’s MP at a poignant ceremony in Jerusalem.

John Howell, Henley constituency MP, laid a cross in Jerusalem on Saturday, July 7 at the grave of 2nd Lieutenant Richard Hewer as part of the Thame Remembers project.

Tony Abbott and John Howell

Tony Abbott and John Howell

Thame Remembers aims to commemorate the centenary of the First World War by locating the graves or memorials of all those from Thame who have died in conflict, and placing a ‘Thame Remembers’ cross on each resting place, wherever in the world that may be.

Over the course of this four-year project hundreds of people from Thame have collectively travelled more than 150,000 miles, to 23 countries across four continents, to remember men from the town.

Richard Hewer was killed on November 21, 1917 and he is buried in the Jerusalem War Cemetery in Israel.

The war hero is remembered in Thame in St Mary’s Church and All Saints Church.

He took part in the heavy fighting up to and just after the fall of Jaffa and was killed in front of Jerusalem while observing for the artillery.

Mr Howell said: “It was a great honour and privilege to be asked to lay a Thame Cross on Richard Hewer’s grave on behalf of the project. It is very important that we remember all those who fell in the First World War and after, and a Thame Cross is a perfect way of doing so. It gave me a great feeling of community to do this and to remember Richard’s sacrifice.”

The MP was in Jerusalem to attend a dialogue between Israel, the UK, Australia and the US. The dialogue, which was also attended by the former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, looked at the situation with Iran, the Israel-Palestinian conflict and the role of the media in this.