Friends of Crewkerne Station Gail and John Coleshill attended a memorial book launch during a meeting of Blackmore Vale Community Rail Partnership at Sherborne Castle Garden Centre. Remembering the fallen of the First World War from the towns and villages along the Blackmore Vale Line, the book was written by Caroline Rowlands. Partnership officer Caroline Rowlands decided to write the book when during research she discovered that many of the soldiers from the local area did not have a known memorial in this country.

Following the tradition of railway companies after the First World War, who commissioned memorials to lost railway workers, such as the one at Waterloo Station in London, members of BVCRP decided it would be fitting to commission plaques at each of the stations to honour the memory of fallen railway workers. Nearly 2,000 individuals from the villages and towns along the main rail line, which includes Crewkerne, have been found and are identified in the book.

The meeting of the BVCRP at Sherborne began with an introduction from chair Gail Coleshill, who outlined the aims of the community rail partnership. It finished with the poem, The Going Down Of The Sun read by John Whitfield, CRP deputy chair. The Last Post was played on a bugle by FOCS member John Coleshill. Others who attended the meeting were Andrew Harrowell, Area Community Rail Partnership Manager and photographer Norman Crabb.

Caroline Rowlands said: “We owe a great debt to the work of Fabian Ware and The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, without whom we could not have found and identified our soldiers and to nurse Dorothy Stacey for the book. Without those who worked with Fabian Ware on the battlefields, identifying bodies, making graves and pegging out cemeteries, 100 years later we would not know who any of the fallen were.”

Andrew Harrowell said: “it was great to help launch the book at Sherborne along with the Blackmore Vale Community Rail Partnership. It’s a poignant book that recognises the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in service for their country more than a hundred years ago. The fact that the information for the book has been put together by the local communities involved makes it all the more special. We are delighted to have been able to provide the funding to support the CRP for the publication of this tribute.” The book is on sale at Templecombe Station, Yeovil Junction, Gillingham Museum, Milborne Port Newsagents and Chapterhouse Books in Sherborne. Friends of Crewkerne Station (FOCS) will have a copy of the book available to view and and would love to hear from any book retailers or managers of community buildings, where the book could be offered for sale in Crewkerne.

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