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First World War services commemorate the men from East Staffordshire and South Derbyshire who served

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 05, 2014

By Matthew Cobb

  • LEST WE FORGET . . . members of the Mercian Regiment past and present gathered with members of the public at the unveiling of the Memorial Meadow in Hilton. As the service drew to a close, a Tiger Moth biplane passed overhead to mark 100 years since the Great War began.

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ONE hundred years to the day since Britain entered the Great War, those from East Staffordshire and South Derbyshire who gave their lives fighting for King and country have been remembered.

A series of events were held on either side of the border, with service personnel past and present paying their respects alongside the families of those who fell in foreign fields.

In Hilton, members of the public gathered alongside members of the Mercian Regiment and clergy at the launch of a memorial meadow to honour the lives of the 18 men from the village who died during First World War, as well as other killed during both the Second World War and Falklands conflict. The name of each was read out by the High Sheriff of Derbyshire, David Coleman.

It was then the turn of children from Hilton Primary School to come forward and place a cross at the foot of each tree which has been planted in memory of each soldier on land behind the village hall.

The crowd, ranging from the very young to the elderly, fell silent to observe a poignant moment of reflection.

Addressing those who had come to pay their respects, the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, William Tucker, paid tribute to the community and thanked organisers for creating the memorial garden.

He said: "I am delighted that the communities of Hilton and Marston-on-Dove have come together to create this memorial meadow.

"I don't know of any others being created in Derbyshire. If there is, then I have to congratulate those communities for their projects. Those young men who went over the top did so not knowing what the consequences would be. They thought that this would be the war to end all wars, but we know that this could not have been any more different.

"I cannot help but think what the atmosphere must have been like in those communities 100 years ago. There must have been sheer panic and trepidation.

"Perhaps the communities would have been peaceful as many did not see the war coming.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old, age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them."

Richard Sherratt's cousin, William Laban, was one of those killed during the conflict. Together with Ros Darlington, he has written a book telling the stories of the men from the area who were killed in action. He said: "It has been a fantastic service and a fitting memorial to the men who died fighting for their country. It's important that we do not forget what they did and continue to remember them, especially over the next four years."

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