ON the eve of Armistice Day a Melton historian has uncovered the location of a plaque which names the first soldier from Melton to be killed in action in the First World War.
Trevor Hearn, of the War Memorial Trust, discovered the bronze plaque in the vestry of St Mary’s Church.
It’s dedicated to the memory of Charles William North Garstin, who served in the 9th Lancers (Queen’s Royal Regiment).
It was reported in a Melton Times article dated September 11, 1914, that he had died during battle in France on August 24 that year, aged 20.
It is understood that he was buried in a cemetery in France.
He was the only son of Sir William Edmund Garstin, an engineer and an early commissioner of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Charles Garstin was also the great grandson of Sir Francis Grant, a well-known artist who painted Queen Victoria and many distinguished British aristocratic and political figures of the day.
Trevor said: “The plaque is an intregral part of Melton’s history and it’s important that Lieutenant Garstin be remembered.
“I did a bit of research into the battle in which he died and found that it was considered to be a disaster costing the regiment over 250 men and 300 horses.
“The battle is described as ‘a costly charge’ against six battalions of German infantry and six batteries of guns, which makes you think they didn’t stand much of a chance.”
The plaque in St Mary’s reads ‘They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them and the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them’.
Trevor will be showing his war memorial archives covering the two world wars at Melton Library from 10am to 3pm daily until Saturday, November 19.
Information is available on every soldier killed in action from the Melton area.
He is happy to discuss details and help families trying to trace their familes to find further links.
l On Remembrance Sunday the parade will leave Thorpe End for St Mary’s Church at 10am. After the service the parade will re-form and march to Market Place for the salute with the wreath-laying ceremony due to take place at noon in the Memorial Gardens.