FOR our tomorrows, they gave their today and now more than 144 people who gave their lives in the Second World War will finally be honoured in their church memorial.
Portchester’s brave men who fought between 1939 and 1945 have had their names added to a memorial in St Mary’s Church following the determination of members of the community.
Resident and keen historian Kate Tame was researching her extended family when the project snowballed.
She said: ‘I was just interested in looking up my husband’s family and it just built up from there and I thought why aren’t we honouring people from our town who fought in the Second World War as people who were from Portchester would be known as being from the Fareham Urban District in other memorials and I wanted to make sure there was something in their town for them.’
Separately Portchester East councillor Roger Price also felt the town’s fallen heroes should be honoured after a visit to France.
Cllr Price said: ‘I visited a church and it had three memorials for those who died in the First and Second World Wars and those who perished in the concentration camps and it made me think that we really should have a memorial.
‘I was unaware Kate was also on the same path and when we found out we worked together to achieve the memorial and I think it looks absolutely fantastic.’
Hundreds of people attended the unveiling held yesterday at St Mary’s Church including the relatives of those who names are on the memorial, the Lord Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Rev Christopher Foster and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.
Kate said: ‘This has been an excellent day and it is amazing that many of the relatives are here today.
The Portchester Society, 2nd Portchester Scout Group, Fareham Borough Council, Hampshire County Council and Portchester Civic Society were among the organisations that donated to the memorial as well as local businesses including Steve Willis Training, Portchester Home Hardware and The Cormorant.
Portchester West Councillor Sue Bell said: ‘This is a lovely example of the council’s community funding and it means so much to everyone here.’
The war memorial was constructed by Richard Andrews and Stephen Barnsley of Tealwoods completed the brass engraving.’
Mayor of Fareham, Councillor Susan Bayford said: ‘‘I would like to thank everyone who was involved for all their hard work on this truly lovely project including Kate, Richard, Steve and the many others.
‘It is a great honour to be here and I don’t think I can put into words what it means to this community.’
The memorial, which is expected to be a working progress as more people come forward with names of family members, is accompanied by a book which contains pictures and stories of the names on the plaque as well as civilians from Portchester who lost their lives.
Kate said: ‘This project has been a real emotional journey and it has been amazing to hear the stories of these men and their families before they went off to war.
‘We already have some extra names to add to the memorial that we were told in the last few days and we will keep adding to make sure everyone gets their proper recognition.’
Anyone who believes their relative should be added to the memorial should contact the church’s office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org