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Sittingbourne First World War heroes in digital roll of honour

By Hayley Robinson

A digital Roll of Honour of local men who fought in the First World War opens to the public this week.

The display will be unveiled by the Mayor of Swale Cllr George Bobbin at The Forum shopping centre, High Street, Sittingbourne, at 2pm on Saturday, January 31.

It will be available to view Wednesdays to Saturdays between 10am and 4pm for the foreseeable future.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded £5,200 towards the The War Memorials Project, which was undertaken by the Historical Research Group of Sittingbourne to mark 100 years since the start of the conflict. It was used to replace the temporary screen installed at Sittingbourne library in October.

Stuart McLeod, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in South east England
Stuart McLeod, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in South east England

Richard Emmett and a team of 60 volunteers have spent the past two years gathering photos and information about those commemorated on memorials in the ME9 and ME10 postcode areas to produce the roll.

Using a touch screen, people can check whether any family members are mentioned and find out more about the town’s role during the war.

It is also an opportunity to remember not only those named on existing plaques, but also men known to have been born, lived or worked in the area who have not been previously commemorated.

A total of 1,184 names across 25 parishes are included with number set to increase as researchers update information.

The Forum Shopping Centre, Sittingbourne
The Forum Shopping Centre, Sittingbourne

The project has also been supported by Kent County Council, Swale council, Sittingbourne Society, which oversees the John George Jordan bequest fund, Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta branch, individual donations plus Tesco Stores for the lease of unit 17.

Head of HLF in the south east, Stuart McLeod, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond.

“The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £62million in projects that are marking this global centenary. With our new small grants programme, we are enabling communities to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”

For details or to share your ancestors’ stories and photos, email ww1@hrgs.co.uk or call 07778 793079.

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