Anniversary facelift for war memorial

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A NEGLECTED War Memorial at St Michael’s Church has been refurbished for the 90th anniversary of its unveiling.

Now a project is under way to put the details of all 72 local soldiers online.

On July 9 a full remembrance service was conducted at the memorial outside the redundant St Michael’s Church, now Shrewsbury Masonic Hall, on Crewe Street, off St Michael’s Street.

The memorial is dedicated to the 72 men from the parish who never returned from the Great War.

Mayor of Shrewsbury Cllr Tony Durnell conducted the service, and is working with Shrewsbury researcher Philip Morris to find out about each of the men and put the details on his internet blog.

“Before I make a speech I like to do a bit of background research, but there was nothing,” said Cllr Durnell, “Having hands-on experience of genealogical research I know how hard it is, and I thought something should be out there on the internet.”

Cllr Durnell said he aims to have all soldiers listed chronologically, including where and when they died, their age, relationships and where they lived, on a page on his website at mayorofshrewsbury.wordpress.com/st-michaels-church-war-memorial.

He also wants to get a picture for each.

“It’s a bit like a jigsaw, but not all of the pieces have something on them and we want it all coloured in,” he said.

“There may be names that you don’t recognise on there, but a lot of people will have parents who do, and will have been around with the children of those who died.

He added that Mr Morris had made it his business to find out where all the graves are located in France, so families could find them.

His blog page says: “It is hard to believe how many men were killed between 1914 and 1919 who lived within such a short distance of each other. One family lost three sons and a nephew.

“This memorial is in memory of the 72 men, all members of this very close community, who lived in an area along a road less than a mile in length. The memorial was bought for and erected by the community so that their names would live on forever a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice they made to make the world a safer place to live.”

The memorial was first unveiled in 1921. It has now been taken apart, cleaned and re-sealed. It has also been put on the War Memorial Commission’s list of protected monuments.

The service was attended by Vice Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire Col Thewles, President of the Royal British Legion (RBL) Sir Charles Soame, as well as officers from RAF Shawbury, the Fire Service and Army Cadet Force and many members of the RBL.

Anyone who has any information, or knows of another neglected Shropshire war memorial, can contact Cllr Durnell on tonydurnell@ymail.com.

See full story in the Leader

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