Launch of Lest we Forget WW1 Memorial Books in North West Leicestershire
Accounts of the men whose names are remembered in the villages of North West Leicestershire.
Snibston Discovery Museum hosted the launch on Monday 28 July of three of the five WW1 Memorial books recording the men whose names adorn the village War Memorials in the District.
Jenifer, Lady Gretton, JP, HM Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, kindly launched the books which include the names of over 700 young men who enlisted during the war years of 1914 -1918.
The books are the result of the partnership work of North West Leicestershire Heritage Forum which is made up of representatives from independent museums and supported by the District Council.
They cover the Memorials of Ashby, Ibstock and the northern parishes around Kegworth and Castle Donington and similar stories emerge from each. Brothers, cousins and pals followed the call ‘for King and Country’ joining, mostly, the Leicestershire Regiment, the Leicestershire Yeomanry and the Sherwood Foresters. Those from coal mining areas were welcomed for the tunnelling companies and reported to be sent to France within days as the need for expertise in working underground increased.
Painstaking research carried out by volunteers in each of the villages covered visits to libraries, the Record Office and Kew. Information was also found in newspaper accounts of the times, war diaries, and village records. Local residents came forward with photographs and medals and other memorabilia.
Nikki Hening from Diseworth Heritage Trust said: “The horrific accounts of the deaths of the men have shown that whilst many were killed outright in battle, some of whose bodies have never been found, many others died as a result of wounds or of the many diseases and illnesses that could not be treated as quickly as was necessary. Gas was another killer on the battlefield causing great pain and distress for those who died and also for those who survived but were never the same again”
From the villages many of the young men who bravely joined up had not been out of their county, let alone their country and the resulting experiences must have been traumatic. And yet there are wonderful accounts of courage and bravery, of concern for their fellow pals, and for the officers for the men in their charge which must have offered some comfort to the bereaved families back home.
It is to them and the wives, parents, sisters and brothers that these books are dedicated.
As the centenary of WW1 is commemorated it is hoped that by reading the names on the War Memorials and finding out the information in the books people will recognise the great sacrifice of the young men who ‘gave their tomorrow that we might have our today’.
The books are available from local museums and also from Angela Bexton 01530 454 603.