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Somme plaque put on public display in Basildon

A PLAQUE commemorating troops who were tragically killed at the Battle of the Somme a century ago is now on public display in Basildon.

The glass memorial, which includes the names of all troops from Basildon borough who fell at the battle in 1916, has been installed in the reception area of the Basildon Centre, in St Martin’s Square.

The creation of the memorial is part of the Forget Never project, launched by Basildon Heritage and Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Ken Porter and Jo Cullen, representing Basildon Heritage, joined Mr Metcalfe and Cllr David Harrison, Mayor of Basildon, to officially unveil the plaque at the Basildon Centre on Friday.

The memorial lists the names of the Basildon men alphabetically alongside troops from two of the borough’s twin towns – Meaux in France and Heiligenhaus in Germany – who also lost their lives at the Somme.

It was presented to Cllr Harrison by Mr Porter at a Full Council meeting in December.

Cllr Harrison said: “This wonderful plaque is just one of numerous worthy initiatives spearheaded by the Forget Never project to ensure the Great War is properly remembered.

“I am pleased we have been able to install it in a prominent position which ensures the public can see it for themselves.”

Partners including Basildon Council, the Basildon Twinning Association, local schools, churches and archive groups have all contributed to the Forget Never project.

Mr Metcalfe said: “The Battle of the Somme saw the worst casualties in British military history, so it is of course right we commemorate those who lost their lives, and this plaque is an excellent way to do that. However, there were also large casualties amongst the French and the German forces. The Forget Never project has been very successful in bringing together many parts of the Basildon community, together with communities in our sister towns of Meaux in France and Heiligenhaus
in Germany.

“The plaque installed here, along with similar plaques being installed in Meaux and Heiligenhaus, will stand as a permanent memorial to all those who fell in service of their country, regardless of nationality, and help us to never forget their sacrifice.”

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