Ensuring no-one is forgotten on Wheathampstead war memorial

PUBLISHED: 06:02 13 December 2014

Stonemason at work on Wheathampstead’s war memorial

Stonemason at work on Wheathampstead's war memorial

photo supplied

For decades they have been unsung heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during times of conflict.

Terry and Margaret Pankhurst have been researching the names on Wheathampstead’s war memorialTerry and Margaret Pankhurst have been researching the names on Wheathampstead’s war memorial

But now, the names of 10 brave soldiers are for all to see - and remember - after a stonemason recently completed engraving them onto Wheathampstead’s war memorial.

The action marks the culmination of painstaking research by local couple Terry and Margaret Pankhurst.

Back in 2011, the Herts Advertiser publicised the Pankhursts’ efforts, as they had set out to research Wheathampstead’s war casualties but uncovered a catalogue of errors on the village’s war memorial and a memorial board in one of the churches.

Their research helped them unearth over 100 names either omitted from lists, recorded inaccurately or misspelt – including 10 soldiers whose names were not on the memorial.

The couple had spent the previous two years trawling through service records of those killed during the two World Wars, using thnewspaper’s archive files, along with those of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, County Records Office and the internet.

Apparently some of the errors resulted from confusion over those who returned wounded and in some cases were discharged, but died from their war wounds in this country.

Last year they published “More Than Just a Name” with stories of the men who died in both World Wars.

Cllr David Johnston, chairman of Wheathampstead parish council, praised the Pankhursts’ efforts, particularly as the soldiers’ names were engraved on the memorial in time for this year’s Remembrance Day commemorations.

He said: “Terry and Margaret have done all of this, not for gain but because they felt it was the right thing to do.”

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