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Tribute to fallen soldiers goes on show

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A tribute to the soldiers of Belper and Milford who died during the ‘Great War’ has gone on show to the public this week as part of the town’s First World War commemorations.

The roll of honour - which was commissioned by philanthropist George Herbert Strutt - went on display at St John’s Heritage Centre, Belper on Monday, August 4.

Two-hundred and seventy-five men from Belper lost their lives during the war. Thirty six of the men named on the Belper Memorial died during the Battle of the Somme from Saturday, July 1, 1916 to November 18, 1916.

Fourteen of the 36 died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme - most of them within minutes of leaving the trenches.

Their sacrifice is detailed in the roll of honour and afresh page of names will be shown each month over the next four years as a memorial.

Pat Marjoram, chairman of Belper Historical Society, said: “As a memorial to the men of Belper and Milford who fell in the Great War, George Herbert Strutt commissioned a roll of honour in which their names were inscribed.

“This was presented to Belper Urban District Council and is now in the care of Belper Historical Society.

“As a contribution to the acts of remembrance in the town, the society will put the book on display in the Robson Cabinet at the east end of St. John’s Heritage Centre from August 4, and a fresh page of names will be shown each month over the next four years.”

The book can be seen when the heritage centre is normally open on Monday to Friday and the last Saturday of the month (except December) from 9.30am to 12 noon.

One-hundred years ago to the day, on the morning of Wednesday, August 5, hundreds of people turned out at Belper Station to see off the 22 members of the Derbyshire Yeomanry from the Belper district, under the command of Sgt H Gillett, who had volunteered for field duty.

They left for Chesterfield on the 11.12, where they were to obtain horses and proceed to Ipswich. People were warned that Derby was likely to be a centre for training large bodies of territorials – about 10,000 – in the first weeks of the war, and many were likely to be marching through Belper . Four thousand soldiers from the north came to Belper in the first weekend of the war, and quartered for the night in the River Gardens, Public Hall, schools and other suitable places. People in the town were asked to provide suitable accommodation for the officers. For more information visit www.belperinwartime.org.

 

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