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Community digs deep to remember bravery of World War One soldiers

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GENEROUS young people gave up their Easter holidays to help dig a new memorial garden to remember the fallen heroes of the First World War.

A century ago teenagers from Clanfield, only a few years older than the students, went to battle in the trenches and many never came home.

For decades the village has paid its respects to them by hanging wreathes on the side of Clanfield Memorial Hall.

But to mark the centenary villagers are rallying round to build a permanent war memorial next to the hall, complete with a granite slab and a flint design.

Pupils from Horndean Technology College rolled up their sleeves to help dig the garden yesterday.

When foundations for the pathway begin, they will be excavating by hand to replicate the tunnelling of trenches on the battlefield.

Around £8,000 is being provided by Clanfield Parish Institute and all the labour is provided for free by the school.

Brian Ahern, a trustee of Clanfield Parish Institute, said: ‘We are building a permanent war memorial because up until now the wreaths have always been hung on hooks on the side wall.

‘The World War One centenary is a great opportunity to build a centrepiece.

‘It’s away of remembering those who gave their lives so we can enjoy the type of life we have now. It was a hard-won victory and when you think the village was quite tiny in those days, the people killed represented a considerable number.’

Adrian Alderslade, construction teacher at Horndean, plans to put a time capsule inside the memorial.

It will contain a replica King’s Penny – a plaque sent to all families when a loved one died in battle.

Adrian’s cousin Henry Alderslade, from Fareham, died during the Battle of the Somme at the age of 18.

He said the flint on the memorial will be collected from local farms.

He added: ‘The flint represents the area because most who died or fought in the First World War worked on the farms.’

Millie Parsons, 14, who was painting a picket fence, said: ‘I like this because you are helping the community.’

Tom Crowe, 14, said: ‘We know a lot of people died and we want to remember them.’

The memorial should be ready by the end of June.

Researcher Adrian Alderslade has been finding out people who died during the First World War from the Horndean and Clanfield area.

They are: Earle Roy Merritt, Frederick Parvin, Claude Edney, Herbert Parvin, Albert Thomas, William Bignell, Sidney Fray, Frederick Budden, Arthur Goddard, Charles Grafham, Frederick Hatch, Arthur Manser, Walter Woods, Frederick Stratton, Reginald Taylor, Frank Rogers, George Marvin, Frederick Young, Stanley Elliott, Archibald Jacobs, Charles Holdaway, William Stanley, George Piper, and Frederick Piper.

 

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