A Storrington tribute to the fallen from the First World War has finally been reproduced and reinstated in its original position in Storrington’s High Street.
The Roll of Honour, a set of watercolour panels painted by artist Paul Hardy, was returned last year to the Storrington and District Museum from Horsham, after having been lost from the village for many decades.
However only two of the three original panels had survived and the third was missing.
Project volunteers worked together since January to research, restore and recreate the memorial and as a result of their dedicated efforts, the third panel has been reproduced by artist, Dennis Lascelles in the same style of the originals.
The Storrington and District Museum presented the outdoor copies of the panels to the village in a ceremony after the two minutes’ silence on November 11 led by the Reverend Kathryn Windslow of St.Mary’s Church.
Stuart Duncan, from the Storrington and District Museum and project leader said, “The unveiling in the High Street was the result of many hours of hard work done by some fantastic people.
“We are absolutely delighted that so many of the community and local organisations came along to be part of this special day.”
In 1917 the original had been fixed to same spot on the wall of the Assembly Rooms, at the White Horse Hotel in the High Street. Two more panels were created in 1918 to record further names who died later as the war went on.
The panels are believed to have been taken down after falling into severe disrepair and had been donated to Horsham Museum, possibly when the Chanctonbury Rural District Council ceased to exist in 1974.
They were then lost from view no one knows quite what happened next. It is believed the original central panel was stored in the archive among the other 26,000 documents and manuscripts, until being rediscovered last year by the Horsham Museum and Heritage Manager, Jeremy Knight.
The centre panel shows a representation of St George in armour and lists the names of the fallen twenty-two men, who were residents of Storrington or closely associated with it.
One contains the name of the only woman recorded, VAD nurse, Edith Ingram and her family has been part of the project since reading about the start of the project in the County Times earlier this year.
The tribute also includes twenty one former pupils of the college in Church Street which prepared young men for the entrance exams to gain army commissions.
Jessica Jacob, 68, from Storrington carried out the restoration of the two original panels. She said, “It’s wonderful to think they have been saved, the history and integrity of them had to be maintained.
“It’s been an amazing insight into Storrington’s history, with many familiar local names.
“I am so glad the panels were found in time for the World War One centenary, and I hope they will put Storrington Museum on the map.”
The project team began work in January this year supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund award, and studied military records and census data from 1911.
They examined recruitment and casualty figures from local papers and even burial records to find those that died from wounds long after the war.
The team visited village memorials around Storrington, record offices in Chichester and London and even travelled at their own expense to Belgium, France and Turkey (Gallipoli) to ensure graves were visited and poppy crosses from the Storrington Branch of the Royal British Legion (Storrington Branch) marked each grave or memorial.
Cindy Waters, 68 of Storrington, is one of the project volunteers, she said, “It is incredible seeing the panels up where they belong. “It’s been a real privilege to take part in this and now see it here for all the community.”
The owners of the White Horse Hotel, Enterprise Inns and the hotel manager were equally supportive and willing to reinstate the panels, for which the project team were very grateful.
The oak frames were recreated by Clifford Wilks from photographs held at the museum with support from the Chanctonbury Lions.
An exhibition of all the research into the names was held at the Museum at the weekend.
Copies of the memorial are in St.Mary’s Church, Storrington above the Royal British Legion’s book of Remembrance.
The original panels and much of the supporting research and documentation can be seen in the Storrington and District Museum, at the Old School in School Lane, Storrington, West Sussex RH20 4LL. Tel: 01903 740188.
Report by Jen Persson
Photos by Art Hutchins - Art’s Eye Photography