Thursday, 28 July 2011

News - Pictorial project to honour war dead (Newarl/Balderton)

A project has been launched to match photographs to all the names on the Newark and Balderton war memorials.

It is hoped it will be completed in time for the 100th anniversary of the start of the first world war in 2014.

The project mirrors a much bigger one to find photographs of as many of the 72,000 British and Commonwealth casualties of the Battle of The Somme who have no known resting place and whose names are commemorated on the French Thiepval memorial to the missing.

There are 603 names on Newark’s Memorial To The Fallen at Newark Cemetery, of whom 456 are first world war casualties.

Another 144 are from the second world war, one died in West Africa in 1961, one in Malaya in 1952 and one in Afghanistan in 2007.

There are 45 names from the first world war on the memorial in St Giles’ Church, Balderton, and a further 13 from the second world war.

Mr Pete Stevens, a Commonwealth War Graves Commission stonemason, is behind the idea to match photographs with the names.

He suggested it at a meeting in Leicester about restoring war memorials there.

Mr Stevens, of Coleman Avenue, Balderton, said completing the project in time for 2014 would be a fitting testament to the memory of those who died.

He said: “If we could achieve this it would fantastic.

“It would be the perfect way to ensure that the memory of these men lives on for the next generation, and wonderful to have a gallery completed in time for August 4, 2014, which is the 100th anniversary of the declaration of war by Great Britain on Germany and her allies.

“A number of very special events are being planned nationally and this one I hope will capture the imagination.”

Mr Stevens plans to create a website where people can upload pictures of their relatives, along with items such as letters from the Front to create a more detailed insight into their lives.

Mr Stevens has already found some photographs of the dead through his work and through genealogy websites.

He has discovered the name of Private Levi Sibcy from 2/8th Sherwood Foresters, who was killed on January 15, 1915, aged 16, and is the youngest soldier recorded on either memorial.

He wants to know more about the six soldiers, also from 2/8th, who died of wounds sustained in the Irish uprising of 1916 and are on the Balderton memorial.

Mr Stevens wants people to trawl though family archives for pictures.

He plans to contact schools in the hope teachers will make research part of history lessons, and pupils will take news of the project home to their parents.

He hopes a home can be found for the gallery, possibly in Newark’s planned new museum which, subject to Lottery funding, would be created at the Old Magnus Buildings, Appletongate.

Any relative of one of the fallen featured on either memorial and who has a photograph of them or who can help in any kind of way can contact Mr Stevens via or contact the Advertiser newsdesk on 01636 681234.

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