Monday, 11 December 2017

'Lest we forget': local soldiers remembered

A BOOK identifying soldiers from the Henley area who died in the First World War has been published.

Mike Willoughby began researching Bringing Them Home nine years ago after learning that his great uncle had died at the Somme.

The 320-page commemoration includes details of all the men from Henley who died in the war and the streets in which they lived.

It also has sections dedicated to the fallen from Bix, Dunsden, Fawley, Hambleden, Harpsden, Highmoor, Nettlebed, Nuffield, Remenham, Rotherfield Greys, Shiplake and Stonor.

Mr Willoughby, from Woodcote, said he was “over the moon” with the book, which is published by the Higgs Group, publisher of the Henley Standard. A total of 1,000 copies have been printed.

He said: “It was scheduled for 200 pages but it went over that. I can’t believe that it is 320 pages — it is brilliant. It is not a literary tome but it is a remembrance of the men.”

Mr Willoughby thanked his wife Lesley for editing the book and for using the information to create a virtual version which will be available at the town hall.

He added: “People have been touched by the project — I am getting lost for words. It is just wonderful what we have turned out as a team.”

Mr Willoughby has dedicated the book to the memory of his great uncle, Rifleman Arthur John (Jack) King, who was killed in action on July 8, 1916. He was 20.

As part of the Lest We Forget Project, which is funded by the Henley Standard, the National Lottery and donations from the public, three new war memorials will be unveiled in Henley to commemorate the soldiers who died as a result of the Great War.

One will be at the town hall and will be officially unveiled by the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire Tim Stevenson after a service in Market Place on Sunday, August 3 (3pm). The other two plaques will be installed at Holy Trinity Church and St Mary’s Church in November.

The plaques will feature the names of 298 soldiers from the Henley area who fought in the war, including about 90 whose names are not included on the town’s existing memorials.

The open-air ceremony will be a drumhead service, so called as soldiers in the trenches would create a makeshift church altar by draping the Union flag over drums.

From August 2 to 9, an exhibition organised by Mr Willoughby will be held at the Old Fire Station Gallery.

For details on how to get a copy of the book and to see the virtual version, visit www.henley-lestweforget.co.uk

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