Plaque unveiled at Basildon Council as part of 'Forget Never' Somme memorial project

By YA Reporter in Local People

A MEMORIAL plaque has been unveiled at the Bas Centre to commemorate local soldiers who died in the Battle of the Somme.

The glass memorial has been placed in the reception area of the council’s offices as part of the Forget Never project.

The project, helmed by Tory MP Stephen Metcalfe and sponsored by the Yellow Advertiser, was organised to mark 100 years since the commencement of the Battle of the Somme.

It saw a series of events staged in Basildon last year, including a memorial cricket match and the recording of an international tribute song.

Mr Metcalfe joined mayor David Harrison and members of local history group Basildon Heritage to unveil the plaque last Friday, February 10.

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.”

The plaque pays tribute not only to soldiers from Basildon, but those from its twin towns of Meaux in France and Heiligenhaus in Germany.

Mr Metcalfe said: “The Battle of the Somme saw the worst casualties in British military history, so it is of course right that 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 German forces. The Forget Never project has been very successful in bringing together many parts of the Basildon community, together with communities in our twin towns.”

The project culminated last year in a two-day exhibition at Wat Tyler Country Park, featuring replica war trenches and field hospitals. Youngsters from the twin towns flew into the UK with their teachers to attend.

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

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