THE centenary celebrations for the end of the First World War will be an emotional time across the country.
But one town is looking to make the anniversary service much more personal, as it gathers the stories of men who lived in the area and made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
St Faith’s Church in Lee-on-the-Solent is looking to get in touch with relatives of the men named on the town’s war memorial, not only inviting them along to the centenary service, but giving them the chance to add to the stories of those who gave their lives.
The vicar at St Faith’s Church, the Rev Paul Chamberlain, says that it would be ‘amazing’ to add to the town’s heritage with the stories of the soldier on the front line.
He said: ‘The war memorial on the seafront has 66 names on it.
‘Back in the First World War Lee-on-the-Solent was actually part of Stubbington; when the Stubbington and Hill Head History Society published stories of men who died during the war, I was able to identify a number of them as being from Lee-on-the-Solent.
‘We want to get in touch with the relatives of these heroic men, so that when it comes to Remembrance Sunday later this year we can share their inspirational stories with the rest of the town.’
Mr Chamberlain says that the 100th anniversary Remembrance parade will be special in Lee-on-the-Solent – with plans for the Fleet Air Arm memorial and the memorial in the town centre.
He said: ‘It would mean an awful lot for everyone in the town to come together and not only remember what happened in the conflict but how it impacted people who lived here in the town.
‘Some of these men were certainly old enough to have had children, so I am sure there are relatives living in the area somewhere.
‘I want for us to have a much more intimate Remembrance Sunday – and if we can invite some of these relatives down to experience it, that would be truly special.
‘This town certainly has a rich history and played an important part in the conflict – but it would be great if we could add to that.
‘These people lived in this town, worked in this town and died for this town, so to honour them in a special way is the least we can do after what they sacrificed.’
For more information and for a list of the dead on the memorial, see stfaithslee.org.
To get in touch with vicar Paul Chamberlain, call St Faith’s Church on (023) 9200 6184.