Council plans to probe mystery of missing heroes named on Marlborough’s war memorials

Written by Gerald Isaaman on .

Carved figure on the St Mary's Church War MemorialCarved figure on the St Mary's Church War MemorialA working party to delve into the names of Marlborough’s heroes named on the town’s war memorials is due to be set up by the Town Council when it meets on Monday.  

And it will hope to solve the mystery of why different names appear in three different memorials, those that might have been left off, and those that are maybe erroneous.

It follows a plea to the council from an as yet unnamed family who wishes the name of a so far unnamed uncle to have his name added to the war memorial at the A346/Barn Street roundabout.

But Councillor Andrew Ross, who has a passionate interest in Marlborough’s history, is concerned that before adopting any policy to add names, there should be an investigation as to who exactly is commemorated at the moment.

“I understand where this family is coming from and their desire for recognition,” he told Marlborough News Online.  “But it would be wholly wrong to add one isolated name at this moment.  I know of no war memorial where a new name has been added.”

“There is in fact a strange collection of names on our war memorials at the roundabout and in St Mary’s church and St Peter’s church.  Some are clearly correctly there, others not so.”

“It is something of a mystery that needs to be solved. There are possibly as many as 25 people who are missing if you compare the names on the memorials for the first and second world wars.”

An edited letter the council received last month states:  “I am writing to request that my late uncle’s name be added to the Marlborough war memorial.  He lived in and around Marlborough all his life and his address was ***** when he was killed.”

“My aunt informs me that this building has since been demolished, although it was part of ***** in 1944.  I have done extensive research on the surrounding war memorials, but there is no record of him anywhere.”

“My aunt believes the correct location for any memorial to him should be the main memorial in Marlborough.  I am grateful for anything that can be done so that his sacrifice is not forgotten.  It would also be wonderful if this could be achieved in my aunt’s lifetime as she is my last remaining relative from that generation.”

London Road War MemorialLondon Road War MemorialSt Mary's Church War MemorialSt Mary's Church War MemorialThe main memorial shows 19 names of those who were killed in World War I on a side panel (pictured) while there are but 13 names on the memorial in nearby St Mary’s (pictured) and a different number at St Peter’s.

“Whether this is due to the fact that records were not well recorded at the time but the fact is that some names have just not been recorded,” added Councillor Ross, a retired accountant working on a history of the town, who chairs the council’s finance committee.

“We need to set up a working party to study the subject and I suggest I should sit on it. It may take a little time to solve the mystery of our war memorial names but it is something we do need to do.”