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Forces War Records Blog

"IT IS OFTEN SAID THAT IF WE FAIL TO REMEMBER THE PAST, WE ARE DESTINED TO REPEAT IT”

Blogger: GemSen A campaign to save a memorial commemorating 498 World War I soldiers has sparked interest and attracted celebrity support from Blackadder stars, Stephen Fry and Ben Elton. The WWI memorial is built within the former 19th Century Fenton Town Hall in Staffordshire, which is now being sold by the Ministry of justice after the courts that were based there moved — currently up for sale for £500,000.
 
According to an article by the Telegraph, Association members have managed to convince the city council to list the 1889 building as an 'Asset of Community Value', which should allow them six months to raise a £500,000 bid to buy back the building. If a private developer bought the site, the building and the four-metre by three-metre memorial could be destroyed – enraging campaigners. Made from rare Minton tiles, the ceramic plaque can’t be removed from the wall without the tiles being shattered - so it is vital that the building is saved and protected. The memorial plaque bears the inscription: "In honoured memory of the men of Fenton who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1918. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Fenton Town Hall is home to four war memorials that commemorate Fenton men killed in the Boer War, Second World War and in Northern Ireland, as well as the Great War plaque. "It is the only example in the world of a Minton ceramic war memorial - it's unique", Glenn Parkes, Fenton Community Association chairman, told the Telegraph. "For some of the people named on it, it is their grave. They never came home and for many of them we don't know where they died. It needs protecting," he added. Joining the campaign to help raise the money to buy back the building from the Ministry of Justice, Mr Elton has already donated £500 and commented:
"It is often said that if we fail to remember the past, we are destined to repeat it. "In our own uncertain times, surely it's more important than ever that we remember the appalling carnage of the First World War and honour the memory of those hundreds of thousands of men who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Originally given to the people of Fenton, the building is not listed and was eventually taken over by the Ministry of Justice and used as a Magistrates Court from 1968. Mr Fry also posted a link to the petition, which calls for the sale of the building to be stopped, on Twitter. He told his six million followers: "Join me in preventing the desecration of a magnificent memorial to the Great War and 498 men by signing this petition." The celebrity support has boosted public awareness of the cause, doubling the names on the petition. Mr Elton also commented: "The final words of the hauntingly beautiful Ode of Remembrance, which we repeat each November are: 'At the going down of the Sun and in the morning, we will remember them.” "Perhaps next year, we should add: 'until it becomes unprofitable to do so'," he added. Source: Telegraph The importance of remembering... How do you remember your ancestors and their military past? Did any members of your family get awarded medals for their actions in war? Perhaps they did, but you just haven’t found out about it yet…Why not search the Forces War Records site and let us help you start, or continue your genealogy quest…The military genealogy specialists also offer a range of official military replacement medals from World War I and World War II, including the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, and the 1939-45 Star. Made to a very high standard and sourced from an MOD approved supplier, the medals are the perfect way to recognise the achievements of the war heroes in your family.
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