Bridlington ‘forgotten heroes’ – the 63 men killed in service in the last century whose names were left off the town’s war memorial – have been added in time for this weekend’s centenary commemorations.
An appeal was made through the Free Press earlier this year to try to find information about servicemen who were not recognised formally in their home town.
Cllr Liam Dealtry, who was determined to get the names added in time for this year’s Remembrance, said he had expected a handful of responses, but was overwhelmed to discover 63 men had been left off the list for decades.
He said: “In this year of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, it’s nice to say the boys are home.
“We have tried our best to make sure all names are now recorded on the war memorial and apologise if any are still missing.
“Emotions have run high over these past few months. I have cried buckets finding all these missing names.”
More tears were shed on Monday afternoon when the stone with the missing names was put in place at the war memorial off Prospect Street.
Stonemason Adam McTurk from JG Gardiner in Sewerby Road spent hours engraving the names on to two stones.
Cllr Dealtry, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, said: “He is a genius and the whole team there have been phenomenal.”
The names include dozens of soldiers from World War One, but also Ronald Michael Kitchen who was killed by the IRA in 1972.
Cllr Dealtry said: “This came as a shock as I didn’t know of any Brid kids killed in the Northern Ireland conflict.”
Chris Bonnett, who has researched and written about Bridlington’s war heroes, said: “It’s such a fitting memorial. The stonemason has done an outstanding job and I am so proud.
“When I researched the book, I came across 50 lads who were born in Bridlington whose names weren’t on the war memorial in the town.
“I’m planning to fully research these 63 lads and write another book about our forgotten heroes.”
The names are a new feature for 2018, alongside the memorial stone which was installed in the gardens earlier this year.
Martin Jolly, chairman of Bridlington Royal British Legion, said: “It’s absolutely wonderful. This has been a long time coming but all the names should be one there and they are home now.
“It is a job well done.”
Cllr Dealtry added: “Thanks to Adam and all the staff at JG Gardiner, Jean Chambers at East Riding of Yorkshire Council for planning and funding, Chris Bonnett and a host of local historians for the research, the staff at Bridlington Town Council for taking many calls, the general public for contacting us and massive thanks to the Bridlington Free Press for their support with this project.”