Sunday, 21 May 2017

Remembering those on our war memorial

The second in a series where I revisit stories about Eltham and the Great War

© Rod Allday
I have been thinking about the contribution Eltham made to the Great War.*

And a little later in the day I received the latest newsletter from the Eltham Society** which highlighted the efforts to track the 227 names which appear on the war memorial.

This is not an easy task not least because a large number of the service records of those who fought were destroyed during the Second World War.

And until relatively recently many of the other sources which might give clues to their lives were not available on line and might be deposited in a number of different locations.

But despite these obstacles it has been possible to uncover something about all but four of the men who “marched away”

The bulk of this research was undertaken by Tony Robins from 1991 till his death in 2004, and since then by Mr Nigel Bennett.

© Stephen Craven
The four remaining “Unknowns” are J.Mather, R.S.Thomas, R. Ward and H or I Young.

 But that isn’t quite the end of the quest, “Mr Bennett has discovered others whom he feels should be on the list, having been Servicemen of Eltham in WW1 but who died in England, perhaps after the Armistice on 11 November 1918, as a result of their injuries or illness.

At this late stage the names cannot be added to the stone. 

That was done only at the specific request of the families of those commemorated, in the mid 1920s.  

But we could add them to the digital and paper listings, at the IWM and locally for posterity. 

Some have standard-type Commonwealth War Commission gravestones in the churchyard.  

Others were buried with family members.”***

So there is the challenge.

Anyone wishing to help can contact the Eltham Society.****

Pictures; the war memorial © Rod Allday, & © Stephen Craven, and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

**1914-1918 Eltham’s Commemoration 2014-2018 Part One: FOUR TO FIND and FOUR TO EXPAND ON, Margaret E. Taylor,  The Eltham Society Newsletter No 196 May 2014

***ibid 1914-1918 Eltham’s Commemoration

****The Eltham Society,

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