The Rathfriland Branch of the Royal British Legion in conjunction with Drumlough and District Historical Society are launching a book to remember the forgotten soldiers.
Written by local man Andrew Henry, Memory of the War Dead will feature the ‘fallen’ from Rathfriland and District during the ‘Great War’ and will be launched on Saturday, November 3 at 12noon in Rathfriland Community Centre, John Street.
Prior to the official release, there will be a tree planting Great War commemorative ceremony at 11am at the Rathfriland War Memorial.
There will be various local dignitaries from across the community at the event and a good turn out is expected.
During the official launch, there will be a number of guest speakers including Mr Charlie Marno, Chairman of Rathfriland Royal British Legion and project co-ordinator, Gary Gardiner, Chairman of Drumlough and District Historical Society and project researcher, Jeffrey Martin, assistant researcher and advisor on the project as well as the author of the book.
The public are invited to attend the momentous proceedings to help commemorate the service and sacrifice of those from the Rathfriland and surrounding local area and the loss of life.
Afterwards books will be given to local schools, libraries and other public bodies to keep the memory of the fallen alive for many years to come. Guests and local residents will also receive a copy on a one copy per household basis.
Mr Martin, who has worked with Mr Gardiner on the project for well over three years, said: “We would appreciate a good turn out on the day, to pay homage to this brave band of heroes, who left this rural community and sacrificed their lives on foreign fields for the freedom we all enjoy today”.
Mr Gardiner continued: “I am delighted with the way the book has turned out and I would like to thank the local Royal British Legion for their assistance as well as the Armed Forces Covenant for the funding. There commitment has enabled us to make the book available to the local community”.
Mr Gardiner, has spent the past few years visiting relatives, acquiring photos and discovering many unrecorded ‘fallen’ from the area, who’s names will hopefully
be added to the current war memorial at a future date.
He concluded: “Those recorded on the war memorial cover a whole spectrum of regiments, many joining overseas battalions having emigrated to Canada or
Australia and other countries.
“On Rememberance Sunday 51 new names will be unveiled on Rathfriland War Memorial by the Mr David Lindsay, Lord Lieutenant of County Down, which should be a huge day for the ‘City on the Hill’.”
Special thanks goes to all those involved in the making of the book and to those who provided information, details and pictures.
Those wishing further information on the event or more details about the book please contact Branch Chairman, Charlie Marno of Rathfriland Royal British Legion on (07872664448).