VIDEO: Honouring Horsham’s 58 forgotten heroes

HORSHAM’S war memorial was re-dedicated this week, with 58 new names added to the roll of honour.

The ceremony was held on Monday to coincide with the Armed Forces Flag Raising Day,

HOR 200611 Rededication of the Horsham war memorial. photo by derek martin

HOR 200611 Rededication of the Horsham war memorial. photo by derek martin

organised by the Royal British Legion and Horsham District Council.

Rear Admiral David Cooke, CB MBE, clerk of Christ’s Hospital School, read For the Fallen, by war poet Lawrence Binyon.

The Reverend Canon Guy Bridgewater, vicar of St Mary’s Church, officiated the 11am

ceremony, while the Royal British Legion were represented by standard bearers.

The new names were added thanks to extensive research by local historian Gary Cooper.

Mr Cooper was compiling a book about the life stories of Horsham people who died in the First World War, when he realised there were a number of people who were not listed on the memorial.

The problem was that when the First World War ended there was no official record of those who had volunteered, let alone one listing the casualties.

That, combined with the huge loss of life and the chaotic nature of the fighting, made it almost impossible to compile a definitive list of the fallen.

Since the number of deaths was so unprecedented, the problem was one which the authorities had never really had to confront before.

Even the war memorial names might never have been there to provide Mr Cooper with a starting point, since many people in the post-war years were calling for a peace memorial, or a war memorial without names.

A temporary memorial was built in 1919 while the debate went on.

It was not until 1921 that a permanent one went up, with the names of all the known casualties inscribed on plaques.

Mr Cooper published Horsham’s Heroes of the Great War in time for Remembrance Weekend 2009.

The missing names have now been inscribed on a stone plaque and set into a new wing on the memorial wall.

Interviewed on video is the man responsible for researching the missing 56 names, Gary Cooper.

For a full report and pictures see Thursday’s West Sussex County Times.