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Website brings to life Swanscombe First World War soldiers' stories
Lt Robert Butchard, from Swanscombe, was killed on November 5, 1916, leading a raid into the German trenches.
A HISTORY buff from Swanscombe is hoping to bring to life the lost stories of the town’s First World War soldiers.
Chris Bateman has set-up the website swanscombememorial.co.uk and is looking for families of those lost in the Great War to get in touch with their photos and memories of their relatives.
The civil servant visited the war graves commemorating soldiers killed at the battle of the Somme in Thiepval, northern France, two years ago when he came across the grave of a Swanscombe soldier named Private John Anderson.
Mr Bateman made sure to visit Swanscombe’s memorial to the town’s dead at the recreation ground in Gunn Road when he got back to the UK but was shocked by what he found.
The 41-year-old told News Shopper: "I thought it was ironic that the stone says "Their name liveth for evermore" but clearly they don’t because there is no record on there of who these men were.
"I think people should remember them really as they were men that volunteered.
The inscription on the Swanscombe war memorial.
"There were a couple of soldiers and sailors in that bunch but mostly they were family men who worked, answered the call to go and fight and paid the ultimate price."
Mr Bateman, who lives in Pentstemon Drive in Swanscombe, has medals and other mementos passed down from when all four of his great-grandfather’s fought - and all were lucky enough to return alive.
One of them, Henry Manley, did his level best to join the ranks of the fallen but still made it back home in one piece.
Mr Bateman said: "He was a soldier in India at the beginning of the war and he actually landed in what is now Iraq but got shot in the lung.
"He was medically discharged and actually rejoined the army and fought in France to the end of the war."
Visit swanscombememorial.co.uk for the full list of the town’s First World War dead and e-mail email@example.com to contribute.
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