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A community came together on Friday, (September 25), to remember its Great War dead.
A Centenary Great War Plaque commissioned for the village of Aldermaston, by the Atomic Weapons Establishment was dedicated in a special ceremony at St Mary’s Church Aldermaston.
The commemoration took place on the 100th anniversary of the first day of the battle of Loos, when six men from the village died.
Villagers, children and dignitaries attended a ceremony to remember the 44 men from the village who lost their lives.
Contemporary records have allowed the addition of 16 new names on this 2015 plaque alongside those from existing memorials, including several sets of brothers.
As a committed good neighbour, AWE invited children from Aldermaston Church of England (CoE) Primary School to hand-write the names of these local men to be used on the ‘Centenary Plaque’.
This special plaque with the children’s writing was unveiled in St Mary’s Church Aldermaston.
Research by AWE has shown that a significant proportion of Aldermaston village men joined the 8th Royal Berkshire at the outbreak of war. They were sent to France in August 1915 to be placed in the elite 1st Brigade, 1st Division.
After only days in the line, they attacked the enemy at Loos alongside their more experienced comrades. They acquitted themselves well capturing three lines of trenches before being forced back.
During the battle, the 8th Royal Berkshire lost 250 men killed and approximately three times this wounded – effectively the whole battalion – and the Somme had yet to be fought.
The effect of these losses on such small villages can hardly be imagined today.
With the help of the children of Aldermaston the artwork and design of the ‘Centenary Plaque’ has been chosen to both harmonise with the existing historic beauty of St Mary’s church where it will be placed and reflect the price paid by the village in the Great War.