THE FATHER of a Stalybridge soldier tragically killed in action has spoken of his pride at a street being named in his son’s honour.
Kingsman Sean Dawson made the ultimate sacrifice as he served in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province in February 2010.
Now 13 years later, KGN Sean Dawson Way, off Ridge Hill Lane, has been unveiled at a moving ceremony, which saw dozens of military representatives joined by the town’s MP Jonathan Reynolds and Civic Mayor of Tameside, Cllr Tafheen Sharif.
Other representatives of the council, including local councillors and leader Cllr Ged Cooney, were joined by Buckton Vale Primary and Copley Academy schools – where 19-year-old Sean attended, Mossley Hollins High School – where sister Summer, who was at the service, goes and the Army Cadet Force.
Sean’s father, Sean Snr, was visibly emotional as his words about his son – including how he will never forget the sound of the knock on his door on February 14 as he was notified of his son’s death – were read out by Peter Edwards, of the Royal British Legion.
And he told The Correspondent how proud he is to finally see his name live on.
Sean Snr, who himself served in Bosnia, said: “It’s nice to think of the fact that he will always be remembered.
“And it’s close to the Fox Tavern pub, which was his local and has a memorial to him on the wall. That’s absolutely amazing.
“Sean’s name will always be on the landscape, along with others in the area who gave their lives, and the sooner we get them all done, the better.
“It’s great their being honoured in their home town. Remembrance has come on a long way. There’s a lot more people come to Stalybridge, where I’ve gone since I left the military now.
“The younger generation is joining in now and it’s nice to keep it at the forefront so they keep remembering.
“It was a long time coming – it was waiting for the right builder in the right area to say they’re willing to name a street after someone.
“Surprisingly, there’s quite a lot who say no.
“It took a while and a lot of a battling to get it all sorted but it’s great and the turnout was amazing.”
Mr Reynolds, Cllr Sharif, the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment - in which Sean, dubbed ‘a true lion of England’ by colleagues, served – KMM Homes, who built the new development the road stands in and all the schools were among those who laid wreaths at the ceremony on Friday, November 3.
A minute’s silence was impeccably observed and was followed by a playing of The Last Post.
Peter Edwards also told how his telling of Sean’s story to those who now live there brought them to add their own tribute.
He said: “The amount of people who turned up from all walks of life was excellent and Sean Snr’s words were very poignant.
“They signified how much this means. We seem to forget very quickly what went on Afghanistan and the sacrifices that have been made after by the family.
“The Royal British Legion is the custodians of Remembrance and the residents are on board with it.
“They asked me a lot more about Kingsman Dawson. I’ve given them the background and hopefully in years to come around Remembrance time, it will be honoured again.
“We tend to accept that everyone knows, not everybody does. We’ll honour Sean on Remembrance Sunday at Stalybridge.
“Now we’ve a road named after him, our intention is to push forward and try and get his name on the war memorial.”
And Mr Reynolds, who has worked with Sean Snr ever since his son passed away in an exchange of gunfire, believes the turnout showed just how much Stalybridge values its fallen.
He said: “It was an incredible turnout, it really moved people.
“With it being in the middle of the day and close to Remembrance Sunday, I thought it might have been the family, ourselves, councillors and the developer.
“But the fact the public came out with schools involved – there were loads of people there – is testament to what we already know, this is very important to people. They gave the family support.
“Supporting Sean Snr has been a big part for me, I’ve known him from the wreaths that we lay at Remembrance Sunday in Stalybridge.
“We have such a connection to the armed forces here and I know it’s been a really important thing for him to have this tribute.”
Mr Reynolds also revealed a site to honour Corporal Joseph Etchells, of Mossley, may be identified soon, adding: “I believe we’re pretty close to getting that done.”