Herts at War launch role of honour event in Letchworth to commemorate World War I victims

PUBLISHED: 10:55 13 November 2013 | UPDATED: 10:55 13 November 2013

The Herts at War event held on Saturday at The Arcade, Letchworth GC. Credit:  Peter Alvey

The Herts at War event held on Saturday at The Arcade, Letchworth GC. Credit: Peter Alvey

Peter Alvey Photographer

A project to remember thousands of men who lost their lives in World War I was launched on Saturday.

The event at The Arcade in Letchworth GC was run by Herts at War, which has launched a county-wide initiative ahead of next year’s centenary of the start of the Great War.

Project co-ordinator Dan Hill said: “It was a fantastic event for us. It was the very first time that Herts at War had launched our role of honour, which names close to 21,000 individuals who lost their lives in the Great War and called Hertfordshire home.

“We were please to be joined by a wide range of project partners on the day from military historian and re-enactor Richard Knight, the military and ancestry roadshow (MARS) and two members of D Squadron, 254 Medical Regiment, which is effectively a modern descendent unit of our county’s First World War regiment, the Hertfordshire Regiment.

“We were incredibly pleased to see such an impressive turnout of all ages and hope that the success of this event marks the start of a four-year journey of remembrance which the county as a whole can be proud off.

“We had loads of people come and tell their stories. Terry Young, nephew of Frank Young, came to see us. His uncle was one of only two Victoria Cross winners from the Hertfordshire Regiment. It was awarded posthumously for bravery in a battle at Havrin-court in northern France. It was just three months before he was due return come home.

“Christina Buck also came forward with the story of her grandfather, Percy Buck. She showed us the original letter sent by a German soldier to her grandmother in Hitchin. The soldier had found Percy lying mortally wounded in no-man’s land with a picture of his wife and son in his hand. He had written on the back that whoever found it could they please send it back to his wife. Although he could not read the message, the German soldier got it translated into English and then sent it through to the Red Cross in Switzerland, and then on to Hitchin.

“It’s the only time we have ever heard of this happening. The whole story only came together three weeks ago – it had been mystery for 95 years.”

For more information visit www.hertsatwar.co.uk

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