Spalding’s lost heroes of the First World War are finally to be remembered.
After months of research, 24 names omitted from the war memorial in Ayscoughfee Gardens will be engraved in stone next to the current list of brave young soldiers, who gave their lives for their town and country and have been honoured annually on Remembrance Day ever since.
This year on November 11, on the 100th anniversary year of the outbreak of the war, residents will have the chance to say thank you to them all and salute the relatives still living in the area who it is hoped will come forward and be part of the special celebration.
The Spalding and South Lincolnshire branch of the Western Front Association (WFA), which conducted the research leading to the discovery of the names, has been working with Spalding Royal British Legion in a project led by MP John Hayes to ensure the monument is restored to its former glory of the 1922 unveiling.
But discovery of the new names is “something special”.
John Chester, chairman of the WFA, said: “These soldiers deserve to be remembered. We promise to do this every November and it’s sad some of them have not been remembered. This is something special.”
The majority of the research was conducted by branch member Cheryl Arnold, who has spent years searching through Spalding Guardian and Free Press archives at the library for names of local soldiers who served in the First World War.
Some names have been recorded on parish memorials but not in town and the task has been to get them finally in one place. Mr Chester said: “There are various reasons why these names may not have been included on memorials. After the war, ads were placed in the local newspaper.
“But many mothers did not want to accept their sons had been killed, especially if they had been reported missing, and so the names got missed off.”
Mr Hayes said it was fitting the group involved in the restoration of the war memorial should again go to the Spalding Guardian for help in tracing the families of the 24 soldiers, as well as any others that may be discovered as research continues.
He said: “To be able to add these names is the final gesture for these people and an important way of us showing our grateful respect to those who for one reason or another were omitted.
“Many of them will have relatives still in Spalding and this will be a fitting tribute to them. Appealing to relatives to come forward and for help with fundraising is an important part of this and shows how communities coming together can make a difference.”
Donations can be given at stall being run by the local branch of the Royal British Legion during Armed Forces Week at Spalding Market on Saturday, June 28. Relatives who would like to contact the WFA can email firstname.lastname@example.org