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Wincham remembers the fallen soldiers of the First World War

PUBLISHED: 00:00 05 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:52 05 November 2018

Members of the Wincham War Memorial Group (from the left); Pat Psaila, Debs May, Bill Timperley, Kevin Street and Tony Psaila

Members of the Wincham War Memorial Group (from the left); Pat Psaila, Debs May, Bill Timperley, Kevin Street and Tony Psaila

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Remembrance Day this year will have a special poignancy for one Cheshire village, as they unveil their new monument to remember Wincham’s brave soldiers.

Wincham War Memoral AppealWincham War Memoral Appeal

They have been the focal point of a nation’s grief for for generations. They are the centrepiece of Remembrance Day commemorations and a lasting reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by so many people. Every city, town and village across the land made a contribition but until now the people of Wincham have had no permanant reminder of the men who went to war and never returned.

This month though, as we reach the 100th anniversary of the armistice, the village will finally be given a war memorial.

The names of 23 men who left Wincham and gave their lives amid the mud and horror of the First World War will be carved into Portland stone as a lasting tribute to their bravery and sacrifice.

But the present-day villagers faced a battle of their own to have the monument erected. They had hoped the memorial would have been in place in 2014, to mark the centenary of the beginning of the conflict but were hampered by red tape and laws dictating that parish councils don’t have the power to create war memorials.

Wincham War Memoral AppeaWincham War Memoral Appea

Parish clerk Naomi Morris said: ‘It seems ludicrous. We have created a war memorial garden with a herb garden, flower beds and fruit trees all planted to give the right ambience for this war memorial but we’re not able to put the memorial in place.’

But this didn’t stop the town, if anything it made them more determined.

The charitable group, the Friends of Linnards Lane Memorial Garden was founded by Christophe Cenac in June 2016 which provided the legal framework for the creation of the war memorial.

Since then a small team has worked on planning and designing the momument - the names will be carved on a stone set into a wall of Cheshire brick and flanked on either side by carvings by Wilmslow-based Keith Carter-Harris who has created designs featuring a dove with an olive branch and a poppy.

And the group say the community-led project has brought a sense of togetherness to the town. At Wincham CP Primary School pupils were asked to write or draw on the theme “What does it mean to you to live in peace”. The project of delivering a war memorial was as much as about remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice as it was about promoting what it takes to maintain peace.

After a long battle the memorial is finally ready and its inauguration will take place on November 10th, followed by a Remembrance ceremony on November 11th.

The town is also producing a book which will be delivered to every household in Wincham. ‘Our war heroes’ will include information about the 23 men from the village whose names are inscribed on the memorial and whose sacrifice will now never never be forgotten.

Never forget

Fourteen soldiers did not receive recognition and remained missing from the Middlewich memorial for more than a century.

But their sacrifice has now been honoured, thanks to determined ex-head teacher Philip Andrews and lorry driver Geoff Page. They investigated the fallen men of Middlewich as part of a town council initiative.

Rachel Bailey, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: ‘This is an important part of our history that had been omitted. Those 14 fallen soldiers were brave men and I am so pleased their bravery to defend our country is now formally recognised and is now etched in the memorial for everyone to see.’

The final Cheshire East Reflects commemoration events will take place during Armistice weekend, titled ‘When the Light Goes Out’, which will commemorate the First World War.

Kerry Kirwan, heritage development officer said: ‘ It is an honour to finally have all fallen soldiers represented on the Middlewich Memorial.’

Churton remembers

After a fundraising drive which lasted almost as long the Great War itself, a new war memorial has been unveiled in Churton, to honour the nine men from the village who lost their lives in the two world wars. In the foundations of the sandstone memorial, which was unveiled by the Duke of Westminster, is a time capsule which records the thoughts of long term residents of the village and school children. The Churton War Memorial Committee researched the families of the war dead and several descendants travelled from around the country to be at the unveiling, which was also attended by the Cheshire Pals enactment group and the Farndon Band.

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