Town’s World War history ‘is being lost’

German PoWs being marched down Grove Road, Gosport, after D-Day
German PoWs being marched down Grove Road, Gosport, after D-Day
First World War veteran Frank West, 93, takes the salute at Bishop's Waltham

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A COUNCILLOR is hoping to preserve his town’s ‘prestigious’ history, amid fears that stories of heroism could be lost.

Gosport Cllr Peter Edgar is looking to build support for a campaign to save the stories and memories of Gosport’s role in the First and Second World Wars – something which he believes could soon disappear forever.

Councillor Peter Edgar

Councillor Peter Edgar

Cllr Edgar believes that there are a number of untold stories of heroism that the town should be celebrating.

His main concern is that these stories could be lost forever, if something is not done to preserve them.

He said: ‘I strongly believe that our history is being lost, and anxious to resolve this.

‘It hit me on Remembrance Sunday, when the Royal Marines weren’t present at the War Memorial Hospital service, despite playing a 
role in the building’s construction.

‘I realised just how quickly we could lose our history. It is something that some people overlook because our stories get lumped in with the rest of Portsmouth.’

Cllr Edgar says there are many stories which could be lost, if action isn’t taken.

He said: ‘There were 40 sites in Gosport that supported the D-Day landings, and around 1,700 Royal Marines were trained in Gosport, plus 60 officers.

‘We played a massive role in both world wars, and it would be awful for that to be forgotten.’

Cllr Edgar’s plan is to get things in motion by 2019 – the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing.

He said: ‘The 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings is a big opportunity to remind people of how rich Gosport’s history truly is.

‘I would like to get the schools involved, so that children can learn about the sacrifices made in the town, as well as community groups and the armed forces.

‘Let’s make sure our history is never forgotten.’