www.barrowvoice.co.uk - First Publised 1975
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Remembering a 100 years on

The Parish Council has been considering how to commemorate the end of the Great War 1914-1918. Some local villages are having a dance, some a street-party, but Claire Forrest, our youngest councilor, came up with the idea of laying a wreath of poppies on all the actual known graves of Barrow soldiers who had died; most of them in horrendous circumstances.

After a tremendous amount of hard work and research, Claire has managed to discover where thirty-three of the men are buried. Unfortunately, the rest are in unmarked graves but their names are on the Menin Gate Memorial, in Ypres, so this is where the majority of wreaths will be laid.

The named graves are in the following cemeteries: Barrow upon Soar, where there are seven graves, Thiepval Memorial has six, Loos has three, Ypres has three, Poziers Memorial has four, Ploegstort Memorial has two, Arras has two, Portsmouth has two and there is one at Cricklade. Two soldiers were buried in Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, and one in Gaza.

The Parish Council will be paying for the seventy-one wreaths, but cannot fund any travel expenses. It is hoped that volunteers will come forward to take the wreaths and lay them on the appropriate graves. Perhaps this could coincide with a holiday abroad. Obviously it is not possible to travel to Iraq or Gaza, therefore members of the Parish Council, and anyone else interested, will lay the three wreaths at the National Arboretum.

After the Remembrance Service this year, all the wreaths will be placed in Holy Trinity Church to be blessed so that there is a binding connection with the village. Claire and her mother Sandie, accompanied by Claire’s uncle, will lay the wreaths at Portsmouth. Claire’s father and uncle served in the Royal Navy so they feel a strong connection.

Claire would like it known that the website Ralph Bowles created concerning the men of the village who served in the 1914-18 war, has been of invaluable help. If anyone is willing to take a single or several wreaths, will they please contact the Parish Council? Each wreath will be named and full directions will be given to the exact position of the grave concerned. Claire has worked very hard to ensure that all details are correct.

Claire uncovered two stories during her research. One is about the vicar, Rev. Stone, who, on returning home after comforting two families who had lost a loved one, was met by the Bishop of Leicester who told him that his only son, Tom Stone, had been killed in action in Mesopotamia. The other story is that the men who were lucky enough to return home were asked if they would like a village hall or a playing field as a memorial. They chose a playing field for the use of future generations; hence the King George V or ‘reccie’ as it is fondly called. Do you know if there is any truth in this story? Please let Barrow Voice know if you can confirm it.

Val Gillings