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Brothers from Headcorn launch project to adopt the unattended war graves of fallen soldiers

Two teenagers who are military enthusiasts are looking to pay their respects to fallen war heroes by adopting their graves and visiting when relatives are no longer able to do so.

Christopher, 18, and Robert Alvis, 17, from Headcorn, who are from a family of World War Two reenactors, came up with the idea after seeing a similar scheme launched by schools in Europe and wanted to do the same locally.

Christopher and Robert are keen World War 2 reenactors
Christopher and Robert are keen World War 2 reenactors

They hope to visit the graves of veterans or military personnel who died in action on significant dates such as birthdays, anniversaries and on Remembrance Sundays as a long term project to honour their memory.

The brothers, who both have autism and other additional needs are asking for people who know of any unattended war graves near the village to get in touch.

Their mother Tanya Alvis, 47, a former member of the Royal Air Force (RAF), said her boys are so eager to get started.

She added: "Ever since they were young they have been joining in with reenactments.

"They started as evacuees in shorts and over the years have got to know so many veterans and they really know their stuff.

Robert and Christopher dressed up at the Chatham Dockyard aged seven and eight
Robert and Christopher dressed up at the Chatham Dockyard aged seven and eight

"After Christmas they said, wouldn't it be lovely if we could adopt a couple of veterans graves locally so that they are not on their own.

"Rob wants to be a military historian so for them to come up with this between them is so typical of them and very personal."

In the Netherlands, Dutch people have been adopting headstones in one cemetery since the end of the Second World War.

People take it upon themselves to look after individual graves in the Netherlands American Cemetery by keeping the site clean and laying flowers as a way of showing their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

The scheme is so popular it's reported to have around 1,000 people on the waiting list to join.

Due to travel limitations Chris and Rob, who attend The Wyvern School in Ashford, are having to stick to those within 10 miles of their home in Headcorn, a village which played a vital role in the war effort.

Lashenden Station 410, also known as Headcorn Aerodrome was requisitioned in World War Two and provided an essential air base to the RAF as well as the United States Army Airforce (USAAF).

If anybody knows of a grave that might be suitable for Rob and Chris to visit, nominations can be emailed to Mrs Alvis on tanya-alvis-catcare@hotmail.co.uk.

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