Hundreds of ‘hidden’ Melton war heroes

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Almost twice the number of Melton servicemen were killed in the First World War than was originally thought.

That grim statistic has emerged following the launch of an appeal to enhance the town’s war memorial in the gardens of Egerton Lodge.

The Melton Times has joined forces with Melton Town Estate to raise money to erect interpretation boards, including photographs and detailed information about every serviceman who perished in conflicts over the past century.

A dozen stone plaques at the memorial detail the names of 245 servicemen who were killed in the Great War, along with 77 who died in the Second World War and three in military operations sinc e then.

But research carried out by the town estate, war historian Trevor Hearn and the Melton Times in the lead-up to a successful Lottery bid for part of the cost of the war memorial scheme has revealed that more than 200 other names are missing from the roll of honour.

Town estate feoffee John Southerington, who is spearheading the campaign to upgrade the memorial, said: “You can understand the odd name being missed off but when that number is over 200 it is quite something.

“In one respect it is alarming that these servicemen have not been recognised on the town’s war memorial.

“It needs to be addressed and this is something we will be looking at doing with the new war memorial.”

There are several reasons why it is believed that so many of the fallen are not included on the memorial.

Melton Urban District Council began gathering information on servicemen who died in the years immediately after the Great War.

And Mr Southerington said: “It could be that some of the next of kin did not want to air the situation that they had lost a loved one.

“Names might have been spelled differently so it was not obvious where they were from.”

Families have also been in touch after carrying out their own research into the war service of a relative and some of these men have not been recognised on the memorial.

A website will eventually give extensive information on each of the fallen to back up the planned war memorial enhancements.

Mr Southerington added: “We originally counted 245 servicemen from Melton who died in the First World War but now we know it was actually many more than 400.

“It shows how big the actual impact of the war was on families in Melton because it affected a lot more people than we first thought.”

l If you have a relative you think should be recorded on Melton’s war memorial please email nick.rennie@jpress.co.uk or telephone 01664 412523.

l If you have a photograph and details of a family member killed in the world wars or in conflicts since then we would also like to hear from you.

Contact us on the email and phone number given above or you can call into our offices in Nottingham Street, Melton. Ring the bell on the front door to alert us please.

l You can make a donation to the Melton Mowbray Town Estate (War Memorial) appeal at the Melton Mowbray Building Society in Nottingham Street - account number is GGX3326893MEL and cheques made payable to Melton Mowbray Town Estate (War Memorial) appeal.