Plaque to remember war dead is unveiled

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A PLAQUE to remember those who have died in combat since 1914 has been unveiled at Warblington Cemetery.

Richard Swaine, who lives in Emsworth, decided there should be a memorial to those who have passed after seeing 25 Commonwealth graves were left untended.

At a ceremony yesterday, the plaque was unveiled from under a union flag in front of serving members of the armed forces and veterans.

He said: ‘I could see war graves were not being visited and it seemed a shame that there was nothing being done.

‘There are 25 Commonwealth war graves and about five people also in civilian graves as well. I wandered through here with a friend in March and I thought how sad it all looked.

‘I contacted the council and they said all they do is keep the grass down.

‘Many of the graves are no longer visited and so I thought something should be done as it is a big milestone for the First World War this year.’

Having worked on the project for months, Mr Swaine was awarded funding for the plaque and rose garden by Emsworth Residents Association in September.

He added: ‘After I got the money, we decided what it was we wanted. We decided on a place and that we wanted a plaque, which was made in Hilsea.

‘I was pleased we were able to have representatives from the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, merchant navy and the army.

‘This has been a real team effort but like with everything, it always starts with someone having an idea.

‘I am very proud of what has been achieved.’

Former head of the armed forces, General Lord Richards, gave a short speech about the type of people who fight for their country.

Canon Simon Sayers also gave a short speech, highlighting some of the war dead from the Emsworth community.

Afterwards, he said: ‘I wanted to focus on the impact of war on individuals rather than just the numbers.’

Havant mayor, Councillor Marjorie Smallcorn, said: ‘It gives me great pleasure to unveil this plaque to mark not only those buried within Warblington Cemetery, but to all those who have lost their lives in conflict.’