THE graves of First World War Victoria Cross heroes in Dorset are to be refurbished.

The Government has announced £100,000 towards the restoration of the final resting places of the fallen to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War.

The project aims to restore all of these graves in need of repair. Headstones will be cleaned or replaced so that the final resting place of those who received the highest military award for valour is a truly fitting tribute to their sacrifice.

The graves include those of Rev Edward Mellish who is buried at Weymouth Crematorium, Lt Victor Crutchley, who is buried at St Mary’s, Powerstock, and 2Lt William Rhodes-Moorhouse buried at Parnham House.

The grave of Pte Jack Counter of The King’s Liverpool Regiment born Blandford Forum, who is buried at St Saviour’s, St Helier, Jersey will also be refurbished.

This new funding will give a significant boost to funds already being raised by the Victoria Cross Trust – a charitable organisation that works to ensure the graves of every Victoria Cross recipient are maintained.

While some graves only require minor work, others have fallen into disrepair - headstones have become illegible; stones have crumbled away leaving them unstable; and some are in danger of collapse. As a result many people are unaware that a Victoria Cross recipient is buried in their community.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “An entire generation of men fought for Britain’s freedom in the First World War and all fought valiantly. But for hundreds of those men their bravery was of such an exceptional nature they were bestowed with the highest military award, the Victoria Cross.

“As these men were honoured then for their extreme bravery on the battlefields, they should be honoured still. That is why I am privileged to offer more than £100,000 towards this project to ensure that their final resting places are venerated memorials where communities can pay their respects and learn about their local heroes.

“This will make sure the graves of our Victoria Cross heroes become places to reflect on their selfless service to the nation. Alongside the creation of commemorative paving stones we will create a fitting tribute to honour these heroes.”

The Government is leading on commemorations to mark the centenary of the First World War.