Story of the ‘forgotten’ 63 brought to life

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DURING four years of war, 63 men would leave home never to return again.

They ranged in age from 18 to 54. Some were working-class labourers and others were from well-heeled families.

Steve Jones with his exhibition'' ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142583-7455)

Steve Jones with his exhibition'' ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142583-7455)

Their stories are now being told in a fascinating exhibition at Waterlooville Library about the First World War.

The display, developed after six months of research, concentrates on the forgotten heroes of Waterlooville, Purbrook and Cowplain – which were semi-rural villages 100 years ago.

Whole families were wiped out by the brutal war, including six sets of brothers from the area – Tarrant, Rogers, Martin, Joy, Moore and Butcher.

The exhibition is the work of librarians Steve Jones and Sally Barker, based on extracts from the book Forgotten Heroes by John Symonds.

Steve said: ‘It was a labour of love to be honest.

‘I felt at times these men were with us. We are bringing them back to life for a short while.’

The exhibition details the work of women during the war, including Emily Napier, the grand-daughter of General Sir Charles Napier, who led a Red Cross hospital at St George’s Church.

Many of the casualties died in trench warfare, including George Dodgson Hulbert, the last male heir of Waterlooville’s Hulbert dynasty, who lived at Stakes Hill Lodge.

Another was William Wyllie, the son of the famous maritime painter.

The war also claimed the life of Reginald Lynch-Staunton, whose grandfather inherited the huge Staunton estate in Leigh Park. He died just a week before the Armistice in 1918.

Steve is hoping that families will go and see the exhibition and perhaps recognise some of the men.

‘We have had some wonderful comments,’ he said. ‘It’s been suggested that we put this online, so we are thinking about it.’