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Friday, 23 November 2012

Is it time for a New Village Memorial?

Royal Wootton Bassett War Memorial
We had a thought provoking, interesting, and as usual direct, e-mail from Mike Halliwell this week.  Many will know Mike, but for those that don't, he has been a prominent village resident for many years, and until handing over to The Raft early last year, he was running Bella Epoque in Milford on Sea High Street.
 
He is also an ardent support of the 'Help for Heroes' Charity.
 
This is what Mike had to say:
 
"I saw the film "War Horse" in the lovely new lottery funded community centre. (The new social heart of the village), last week. I was very moved.
 
Also last week I attended a couple of remembrance services. Milford on Sea had one at Keyhaven war memorial, appropriate and moving. The other was on the village green; with a 'temporary' memorial. Very sad.
 
I have been associated with the village for fifty years. It must be the largest village in the land without a "proper" war memorial.
 
After the film I pledged to my solicitor, Hugh Whitlock, and any one else who was listening, £5000 towards a new War Memorial in the village.
 
In 1920, £850 was raised to purchase the freehold of the old cottage hospital built in 1900 (now the telephone exchange!) Ten years later £7500 was raised to build a new hospital. The village needed a new hospital. It also still had no memorial to those eighty+ souls of the village who had given their lives for their country. I am aware that most of their names appear on the "shrine" seldom seen inside the new hospital, also now in jeopardy. This list includes All who served as well as those killed.
 
They are also remembered in All Saints' Church. Neither of these memorials excuse the village from its duty to erect, belatedly, a War Memorial in the centre of the village, where we will see it daily and remember those young men who gave their lives that we might live in peace.
 
I am well aware that many villages built war memorial halls, sports grounds, swimming pools, even bus shelters! but these were exceptions.
 
Ours could be of modern design. Think of Royal Wootton Bassett, they have a fine memorial on the edge of the town built after the first world war, but have also created a fine, modest memorial in the centre of town for today's heroes. What if, God forbid, a son or daughter of the village was killed tomorrow in Afghanistan, or in some future war?
 
Is it really too much to ask? I believe £25,000 is required.
 
My (£5000) pledge is for two years (2014) in the certain hope that our thriving village will easily rise to the challenge.
 
I hope that the public enthusiasm I found for such a project two years ago is still existant. I am seeking a small "working party"to include a lawyer ,banker, computer person, designer and accountant as well as like minded "volunteers".
 
if we cannot fund and create a suitable memorial in the next two years then it will never happen!
 
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If you have a view, or would like to join Mike's working party, please feel free to add a comment below, or contact Mike at mikehalliwell@aol.com
 

4 comments:

  1. I think it is an excellent idea. We missed out this year as it fell on a Sunday. The portable memorial was set up on the green, bathed in glorious sunshine, with a few people gathered round at 11 o'clock, when we could have had a fantastic parade with the youth organisations as well.
    I vote we do it and show our support to the fallen publically, rather than hiding their names away, even if we only provide a more permanent base for our portable memorial to be bolted to until we can afford a proper stone one.

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  2. I had the privilege of being involved in the Remembrance Service held at All Saints Church on the afternoon of 11/11/12. A huge number of young people from Girlguiding and Scouting as well as Milford school were all involved in an incredibly moving service where poppies were placed on the altar by the young people as the names of the fallen of Milford were read out. Wreaths were laid on the War Memorial inside the Church by representatives from many organisations. Whilst it would be good to have a War Memorial on the Village Green as a focal point it would be wrong to think that the event on the Green at 11am on 11/11/12 was Milford's Remembrance Service

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  3. Further thoughts from Mike:
    The figure killed from the village is at least 73, probably more. 51 are from the first war and 22 in the second.

    However, a cursory glance at any war memorial will show a ratio of 3 or 4 times as many killed in the first war. This was due to the appalling attrition rate of shellfire and machine guns on tightly packed troops in the open.

    I believe that on this basis as many as an hundred might have died from the village. Sadly, at least a dozen or more have no known grave.

    It is important that anyone who has knowledge or information regarding relatives or friends let us know so that this can be rectified.

    A huge resource is now available at National Archives at www.findmypast.co.uk. There will be a dedicated website in the new year.

    Contact Mike at mikehalliwell@aol.com 01590 644301

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  4. I live in milford and I would probably say I love it here and I never ever want to
    move not in a million years

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