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New memorial in Alton for war dead

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VILLAGERS are marking the centenary of the First World War by unveiling a brand new memorial featuring the names of all those who sacrificed their lives for King and country.

Alton Parish Council has resolved to produce a new memorial as the existing one near St Peter’s Church does not document the names of all the fallen.

An ancestor of one of the soldiers from Alton who died in the war visited the village last year and was surprised to see their relation’s name not on the memorial.

The man went to see the parish council about this and its members agreed they should mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War accordingly.

They have decided to place the new stone next to the old landmark – and the Earl of Shrewsbury has agreed to cut the ribbon at its opening ceremony.

Eddie Bailey, a councillor in Alton, said: “I think it’s very important that we do this and I’m delighted the project is going ahead.

“The sacrifice that the soldiers made was absolutely staggering and can literally be called the ultimate sacrifice.

“My grandmother’s brother-in-law, George Taylor, died in the war and he was one of many who fought so we could have our freedom.

“Now I’m really looking forward to getting the monument put in place and formally marking what these brave young men did for Alton.”

After the opening ceremony armed forces representatives will sound the bugle in memory of those whose names will be on the memorial.

Then there will be tea, coffee and refreshments in Alton Village Hall, where history enthusiasts can see an exhibition about the fallen heroes’ individual stories will be unveiled.

Councillor Bailey said that the parish council was still looking for relatives of the fallen soldiers to come forward with pictures and information that may help to tell their stories.

Any other information or memorabilia about the First World War is also being sought for the exhibition.

The service and unveiling will take place at the memorial site on Sunday, July 27 at 3pm.

Anyone with any information about the war relating to Alton is being asked to call Stella Heritage on 01538 702124 or send her an email at mrs.stellaheritage@gmail.com.

The parish council is following in the footsteps of villagers in Stramshall, who recently produced a book documenting the stories of soldiers from the village who died during the First World War.

They sent a copy of the book to the Queen and received a response from her office thanking them for sending it and stating that Her Majesty enjoyed her read.

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