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As Portsmouth prepares to mark Armistice Day, stone panels bearing the names of 400 of the city’s fallen heroes have been officially unveiled at the World War Two memorial.
The stone panels were unveiled by Jean Louth, who has been campaigning to ensure service men and women and civilians from Portsmouth are properly commemorated, and Leader of the Council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, a long time supporter of the campaign.
The Royal British Legion also attended, bearing their standards.
The official unveiling took place at the World War Two memorial, at the side of Guildhall Square at 2.30pm.
The fundraising campaign to ensure service personnel and civilians from Portsmouth who died during the Second World War are commemorated was started by Mrs Louth more than two decades ago.
The campaign led to the creation of a World War Two memorial at the side of Guildhall Square, which was officially unveiled in November 2005 by Princess Alexandra.
The opening of the memorial marked the start of a renewed campaign to raise around £90,000 to install stone panels on which the names of around 3,000 fallen service men, women and civilians will be engraved.
As a result of fundraising, including a substantial donation from Wightlink, panels inscribed with the first 400 names are now in place and were officially unveiled as the city prepares to mark Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday on 11 November.
Since the stone panels were commissioned, the memorial fund has been given a substantial boost by a £19,400 bequest from the estate of JF Hooper, and two further donations of £9,000 each from Veolia and Parkwood Leisure. As a result, six further plaques containing 1,200 names are being commissioned from specialist stonemasons, and should be installed at the memorial in spring 2013.
Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson is a long time supporter of the campaign.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said:
“I am honoured to be taking part in the official unveiling of panels bearing the names of 400 brave men and women from our city who gave their lives during World War Two.
"The memorial will ensure their names live on, and that feels especially fitting in the week before Remembrance Sunday, when all our thoughts turn to the sacrifices made by those who have died serving their country.
“I am also proud to be able to say we have commissioned panels bearing the names of another 1,200 of Portsmouth’s fallen heroes and I am grateful to Wightlink, Veolia, Parkwood and the estate of JF Hooper for their generous donations.
"I hope others will be inspired to support this appeal and help us to ensure the names of our fallen heroes are properly commemorated..”
Jean Louth, whose father, Harry Short, was killed at Dunkirk, said:
“I’ve been campaigning for a long time to see the names of service men, women and civilians from Portsmouth properly commemorated and I am proud to be able to be part of the unveiling of panels bearing the names of 400 of our city’s fallen heroes.
"We have received some very generous donations over the past few months and I am hopeful that others will be inspired to help us and enable us to final complete the memorial."
A £30 donation pays for a single name to be engraved on the memorial.
The memorial fund is being administered by Portsmouth City Council. Anyone who would like to contribute can donate in the following ways:
Online – using a credit or debit card, visit www.portsmouth.gov.uk by clicking on the ‘pay for it’ link, then selecting ‘miscellaneous’ and then ‘memorial fund’
In person – donate with cash or a cheque, or use a debit or credit card, through cashiers at the Civic Offices in Guildhall Square
Post – send a cheque or postal order to World War Two Memorial Fund, Cashiers, Portsmouth City Council, Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AL