MP wells up as he returns First World War fallen soldier's plaque home

A soldier killed in the First World War was returned "home" after his memorial plaque was presented to a Conservative MP in the Commons.

David Morris (Morecambe and Lunesdale) fought back tears as he spoke about Private Charles Edward Woodward, who died aged 20 in 1915, during a parliamentary debate.

Ypres

Mr Morris held up Pte Woodward's memorial plaque before later giving it to his Tory colleague Victoria Atkins, MP for the Louth and Horncastle constituency where the fallen soldier was born.

He said: "I would like to round off this quite emotive speech for me, which is unusual, to let him go home."

Mr Morris purchased the plaque at a London military shop, which came with details of Pte Woodward's life.

He said of the item: "As you can see, it's quite large and weighty. This gentleman, his name was Charles Edward Woodward.

"What makes me a little emotional about this is the hole because that would have been hung on the wall over the mantelpiece of his parents' home. That's all they had left of him."

MPs heard he served with the Lincolnshire Regiment and was killed in action in Ypres on September 30 1915.

Mr Morris added: "He was only aged 20. He was younger than my son."

The MP paused as he was overcome with emotion, adding: "I'm sorry."

Ms Atkins intervened in a bid to give Mr Morris a chance to compose himself, noting: "You will have noticed the inclusion of the word Lincolnshire Regiment in that - I suspect my honourable friend is about to explain a little more about the very special place that this brave young man played in my constituency."

Mr Morris thanked Ms Atkins for the "timely" intervention, explaining: "I was welling up."

He added further details about Pte Woodward, including that he was from Spilsby in Lincolnshire.

Mr Morris, still holding the plaque, said: "This is all that's left of him. He was a person."

He said he would like to see the memorial plaques of the fallen collected and displayed although conceded it might not be possible to have them in one place given the sheer number of deaths during the conflict.

Mr Morris also suggested displaying Pte Woodward's plaque in the House of Commons for a brief period, before adding: "I would like to round off this quite emotive speech for me, which is unusual, to let him go home."

At this point, he turned to Ms Atkins and presented her with the plaque.

Ms Atkins, during a later intervention, thanked Mr Morris for his "moving" speech and for the presentation.

She said: "We have a wonderful museum in Alford, which is just a few miles down the road from Spilsby where this young man came from.

"That is run by volunteers, they have an exhibition on commemorating the centenary of the First World War.

"The collection at Alford Manor House is gathered from local people who have given things found in their attic or grandparents' homes and they have lent them to the museum to allow them to show it for the centenary of the First World War.

"It'd be my very great honour to present this to them, to lend it to them for the rest of their exhibition until next year, with the consent of my honourable friend."

More from Lifestyle