Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Royal Anglian Regiment: Harlow memorial to Pte Robert Foster

Private Robert Foster was one of the nine soldiers of 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment who lost their lives in the service of their country during the Battalion's previous tour in Afghanistan in 2007.

Since then his family has been trying to have Robert's name engraved on the War Memorial in his home town of Harlow.

Both the local branch of The Royal British Legion and Harlow Council, however, have said that this cannot be done - that the Memorial Cross has to be restricted to those who died in WW1 & WW2. This is despite the fact that the War Memorials Act allows a council to add names to a war memorial whether it owns it or not. The name of Pte Aaron McClure, a fellow Viking who was killed alongside Pte Foster, has been inscribed on the War Memorial in his home town of Ipswich and many other towns have been proud to honour their boys in a similar way.

Harlow Council have come up with an alternative proposal and now intend to build a low curved wall to the back of the railed area around the Cross, as a memorial to all of those with a strong connection to Harlow, who have given their lives in service in conflicts since 1945. Brass plaques would be attached to the wall, setting out the name and regiment of the deceased, the date of death, and the conflict in which they were serving. This is an idea taken from the Basra Memorial Wall (see below) which has recently been repatriated from Iraq and re-erect in the grounds of the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Arboretum, Arlewas.

War memorials stand in every village, town and city across the country. They are the focus of the Nation's remembrance. It is absolutely right that the names of all those who have given their lives fighting for their country should be honoured and remembered on them.

As Robert's parents said: "I don't think we're asking for the world. We're just asking for a name to be put on a memorial." ....... "It's actually quite a simple thing, when you think about it. It doesn't take much at all."........."To finish the story his name should be on the War Memorial."

BBC: Parents fight for son's name on war memorial (video)
BBC: Family fight for memorial honour
Harlow Council: Memorial to Private Robert Foster