There were teary eyes in the crowd that gathered today to see the unveiling of the Battle of the Boar’s Head war memorial.
Students from Chatsmore Catholic High School collaborated with Year Five pupils from across Worthing and the Creative Waves community arts group to make a sculpture for the memorial.
Caring Lady funeral directors also donated a memorial stone engraved with First World War poetry, maps and illustrations designed by the students which was unveiled in Beach House Park today.
It is the first in the area to commemorate the battle, in which more than 300 soliders from The Royal Sussex Regiment died, including 23 from Worthing. It is now known as the day Sussex Died.
The memorial stone was unveiled by borough councillor Major Tom Wye and three students who kick-started the project, Alicia Dutton, Abby Smith and Joe Angioni.
The trio also laid a wreath for Private John Searle, a recently-discovered 16-year-old solider who died in the battle.
Chris Frampton, who teaches at Chatsmore High, laid a wreath for his great-great grandfather Command Sergeant Major Nelson Carter, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his sacrifice in the battle.
The sculpture paid tribute to these two soldiers.
Private Lisa Welsh of the Scots Guards also laid a wreath for the Royal Sussex Regiment, and Chatsmore pupil Luke Greenwood played the Last Post.
Major Wye, 74, delivered a passionate speech during the unveiling ceremony. He said: “Worthing is one of the first towns where the children have produced a memorial. This is their place, and their memorial, forever and a day and I thank them all for it very, very much indeed.”
The memorial project began after Alicia, 13, Abby, 14, and Joe, 14, visited the Western Front and Ypres in Belgium as part of a national programme to educate students on the First World War in its centenary year.
Alicia, from Littlehampton, said the experience made her want to join the armed forces.
Abby, from Ferring, said: “It’s unimaginable to be honest, the scale of the people who gave their lives. If you imagine each grave as a person it is devastating really.
“These soldiers deserve to be remembered. Young people don’t realise how much they did. You think back to the hell that they fought through – many of them gave up their tomorrow so we can have our today.”
In the crowd was veteran Ted Bullen, whose father fought in the Battle of the Somme, and he shed a tear during the ceremony.
Ted, 93, who lives at The Queen Alexandra Hospital Home in Worthing, said it was ‘a lovely service’, and his father would have approved of the memorial.
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