Portsmouth’s World War One sacrifice is recognised

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TRIBUTE has been paid to First World War veterans and those who help to remember them by Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt.

Ms Mordaunt spoke in the House of Commons at a debate commemorating the centenary of the war.

British soldiers go "over the top" from a trench in France

British soldiers go "over the top" from a trench in France

Ms Mordaunt said 6,000 men from Portsmouth died in the war and 18,000 were wounded.

She said: ‘It is right that we remember their sacrifice and remember them.’

In her speech, Ms Mordaunt mentioned Charles Haskell, who created a World War One Remembrance Centre at Fort Widley, which opened last year.

She said: ‘I believe it is the only World War One museum in the south of England with the exception of the Imperial War Museum.

‘As well as a record of events, local people have donated artefacts to be displayed there, and volunteers have recreated a trench experience which has been a real draw for schoolchildren across the region.’

Ms Mordaunt also spoke about the Portsmouth Citizens Patriotic Recruiting Committee which called on men to form Portsmouth’s own battalion in 1914.

She said: ‘It was not long before the city, including the surrounding areas of Gosport, Havant, Waterlooville and Petersfield, had raised two battalions.’

She said the soldiers, known as the Pompey Pals, would be honoured in August with a new memorial at Fratton Park.

‘Like the other Pals battalions which formed a major part of Kitchener’s new army, they saw service on the Western Front from the middle years of the war and would face a baptism of fire on the killing grounds of the Somme,’ she said.

‘By the end of the war 1,400 of the Pompey Pals would have made the ultimate sacrifice.’

Ms Mordaunt thanked the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting a Lest We Forget Project and called for the graves of people in the armed forces who died between the First and Second World Wars to be restored.

She said those graves often only had a wooden cross, which was in ‘stark contrast’ to the white marble of the graves of those who died in the wars.