MOST towns have war memorials dedicated to honouring those local people who died in WWI and/or WWII. Some villages even list those who also served overseas and returned home.
You will find these memorials as monuments in prominent places, on plaques in churches, or listed in published books. But because of the nature of presentation, being either etched in stone or scrolled by a calligrapher, there isn’t much information other than a name, usually just as first initials and surname; few offer rank/serial number/regiment. And once complete, it’s difficult to go back and either add information, or, in some unfortunate circumstances, correct misspellings.
A plaque under a Boer War memorial window in our own parish church even lists the name of a man who’d supposedly died but then his wedding announcement was published in another town two years later.
Mistakes and misidentification happen. With modern technology, we can create online memorials that can correct these. We can also supply further information about each soldier. Add photographs. List family members. Etc.
But I want to take it a stage further. Let’s honour all those who played their own part in serving their country. Those who served and returned. Those who remained and worked in healthcare or in manufacturing. Even those who wanted nothing to do with fighting, but found other peaceful ways to support their country men and women. What did the people of Melksham do during these wars?
For the past seven years I have been collecting this information and have uploaded a .pdf file online that can be downloaded – it lists more than 1,200 people, giving their roles during WWI and WWII. Since my focus had initially been WWI, there currently is scant information about the Boer War and slightly more about WWII.
As in everything online, this is not a complete list and has many blanks, but, with your help, it can be updated to add or correct information. Find a link to this listing at: http://www.twhc.org.uk/military.html. Please send corrections/additions to: email@example.com.