An unique commemoration of 32 of 307 Penarth soldiers who died in the service of their country in the First World War has taken place in the town this week in the lead-up to Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.
Across the town, the home-addresses of 32 All Saints parishioners who went to war – and who did not return – have been identified and commemorated with the presentation of special poppy wreaths by members of All Saints Church and pupils of Stanwell, St Cyres and Evenlode schools.
The commemoration – called the “32 Project” – follows last year’s re-dedication of the plaque in All Saints Church which records the names of the 32 young men of the parish who lost their lives in the First World War .
For that event, the project-members – Jane McLaughlin, Dr Len Smart and Tom Crooks – had collaborated to publish a book about the lives of “The 32” – and in last year’s Remembrance Day service 32 wreaths, one for each man, were laid in the Church in their memory.
This year “32 Project” has taken the commemoration a stage further by placing poppy wreaths on the front-doors or gateways of the various Penarth homes where the 32 local heroes once lived.
The “32 Project” members were accompanied on the wreath-laying by pupils from St Cyres, Stanwell and Evenlode Schools in an initiative to – as Jane McLaughlin says – “show the pupils and the wider community of Penarth that these men were just ordinary people living in ordinary houses, just like you and me, but caught up in extraordinary times”.
The All Saints Church group has formally thanked today’s householders of the “homes of the 32” for their tremendous support in allowing the wreaths to be laid at their properties.
Receiving 2 of the wreaths were Rhys and Lynda Protheroe who are relatives of WW1 casualties, step-brothers Eddie Hookway and Harry Essery who, a century ago, once lived at the same Penarth address and whose names are inscribed on the War Memorial in Alexandra Park .
Amongst other addresses commemorated in Project 32 is the home of the Hoult family in Grove Terrace, Penarth which lost 3 of its sons in the First World War.