FAMILIES from the Peterborough area were among those paying tribute when a memorial to honour fallen Royal Anglian soldiers was unveiled.
The Royal Anglian Regiment, which recruits from the East of England, dedicated the memorial at Duxford Imperial War Museum at a private ceremony attended by more than 5,000 people on Sunday.
The memorial comes after more than £340,000 was raised through a fundraising campaign, launched after nine members of the regiment were killed in the 1st Battlion’s 2007 tour of Afghanistan’s Helmand province.
One of those nine was Corporal Darren Bonner, of Wisbech, whose mum Christine helped raise more than £35,000 towards the memorial.
The 78 soldiers named on the memorial died serving their country in various battle zones, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Northern Ireland and Aden, in Yemen.
The first entry dates back to 1959 and the final entries are the deaths of five men during this year’s tour of Afghanistan.
Among the soldiers honoured are Cpl Bonner, who died in 2007, aged 31; Peterborough-born Corporal Michael Boddy, who died in 1972 aged 24; Private Paul Tee, from Peterborough, who died in 1986 and Corporal Colin Herbert, from Stanground, who died at the age of 21, in 1965.
During the ceremony, more than 375 family members of fallen servicemen walked past veteran standard bearers and sat in front of the memorial, followed by the regiment’s colonel General Sir John McColl and the colonel-in-chief, the Duke of Gloucester.
Regimental Chaplain Reverend Ken Reeve led the families and veterans in a number of hymns and prayers and each name on the memorial was read from a roll of honour.
The Last Post rang out from solo bugle player Lance Corporal Laura Windley and each family was given time to lay personal tributes on the memorial before it was opened to the public.
The Duke of Gloucester paid tribute to the fallen soldiers and said the dedication of a memorial had “been a long time coming”.
He said: “Since the formation of the regiment, those who have been lost have been remembered in different ways and at different locations, but now this single place has been created.
“This demonstrates that we care about those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
“For the 375 family members who are with us today, their grief is accompanied by a tremendous sense of pride, which we all share.
“This will be somewhere for them to come and it will be a place of strength and resolve.”
The memorial appeal was launched following the deaths in Afghanistan. It was originally going to support the regiment’s injured soldiers and build a memorial to those lost.
It was later decided that the memorial should commemorate all the soldiers who had lost their lives in various conflicts since the regiment’s formation in 1958.
The Royal Anglian Regiment selected the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, Cambridgeshire, for the preferred site for the memorial as the regimental museum is already located there.
It is also the location for the annual regimental gathering held each September.
Regimental secretary, retired Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Hodgson, said: “Duxford will become the prime focus for the regiment in its home counties, a place where the regiment will gather to remember its dead at the memorial, with the story of the campaigns in which they died being told 200 yards away, in the regimental museum.”
Lieutenant Colonel James Woodham, commander officer of 1st Battalion of the Royal Anglians, said: “Over the years we have remembered those who have fallen in the course of duty in a number of different ways, but one thing that was missing was a central area where everyone can commemorate those who have fallen.
“The donations which have been made by the public for this memorial have been fundamental. Without those donations this would not have been possible.
“I think it is a magnificent tribute.”
The soldiers listed in the memorial:
Private Fox, 1964, Corby
Private Goodfellow, 1972, Rushden
Private Burton, 1959, Norfolk
Private Shopland, 1964, Suffolk
Private Atkin, 1964, Cleethorpes
Private Frazer, 1964, Norwich
LCPL Boothright, 1965, Lincoln
CPL Jackson, 1965, P’borough
Private Wallace, 1965, London
JDMR Skinner, 1966, Weston-Super-Mare
CPL Watson, 1966, Selkirkshire
CPL Shirley, 1966, Lincolnshire
CPL Herbert, 1967, Luton
Private Rogers, 1967, Barnsley
Maj Taunton, 1970, Australia
Private Sheridan, 1970, Somerset
Private Wilkins, 1971, Hampshire
LCPL Curtis, 1971, Reading
2LT Hull, 1972, Ireland
Private Ballard, 1972, Grimsby
LCPL Rooney, 1972, Eire
CPL Mogg, 1972, Oakham
CPL Boddy, 1972, Peterborough
CPL Barry, 1972, Lincolnshire
Private Burt, 1972, Harlow
Private Mason, 1972, Norfolk
Private Markwick, 1973, Cheshire
LCPL Owens, 1973, Bedford
Private Edwards, 1973, Southend
LCPL Grant, 1973, Leicestershire
Private Hollis, 1974, Essex
CAP Shipley, 1975, Australia
SSGT Bodenham, 1976, Herts
Private Stacey, 1977, Lincolnshire
Private Foster, 1978, Norwich
Private Wright, 1979, Leamington
Private Cooper, 1980, Isle of Wight
LCPL Johnson, 1980, Kent
Private Brewer, 1981, Scunthorpe
Private Anderson, 1982, Ipswich
Maj Ford, 1983, Suffolk
Private Linnett, 1984, Leicester
Private Patten, 1985, Norfolk
MAJ French MBE, 1986, Wales
Private Davies, 1986, Ulster
Private Bertram, 1986, N’land
Private Knight, 1986, Suffolk
Private Tee, 1986, Peterborough
Private Back, 1987, Lincolnshire
Private Peacock, 1989 Lincolnshire
LCPL Langridge, 1990, Lincolnshire
CPL Collishaw, 1990, Ulster
LCPL Faulkner, 1990, Leicestershire
Private Linney, 1991, Glasgow
JNR Windsor, 1991, Grantham
SGT Devaney, 1992, Eire
CAPT Wormald, 1994, W Yorks
LCPL Rout, 1999, Wisbech
LCPL George, 2002, Essex
Private Lewaicei, 2006, Stoke
Private Morris, 2006, Derbyshire
Private Gray, 2007, Ratby
LCPL Avey, 2007, Suffolk
CPL Bonner, 2007, Spalding
Private Borkertas, 2007, Grantham
LCPL Hawkins, 2007, Norfolk
Private Rawson, 2007, Norfolk
CAPT Hicks, 2007, Berkshire
Private Foster, 2007, Harlow
Private McClure, 2007, Suffolk
Private Thrumble, 2007, Essex
Private Mugridge, 2008, Bedfordshire
LCPL Drane, 2009, Suffolk
Private Hayes, 2010, Suffolk
CAPT Driver, 2010, Barnlsey
LCPL STM Hardy, 2010, Essex
Private JD Grigg, 2010, Suffolk