Sywell Aviation Museum News
War memorials go 'home' for Remembrance Day
10th November 2012
Three World War One memorial plaques which were gathering dust in a county prison could be returned "home" in time for Remembrance Day. The plaques, which name 50 soldiers who died in the conflict, were found in a workshop at Wellingborough Prison last month. How they got there is unknown, but their origins have been revealed thanks to a member of Sywell Aviation Museum, who is also an avid historian.
The plaques were donated to the museum and Gordon Hall, aged 77, of Wollaston, set about finding out where they were from. His research led him to a church in Dulwich, London, which was damaged in the Blitz. The plaques were removed from the church, but what happened to them between then and their arrival in Wellingborough is unknown. But after just two weeks of research, Mr Hall has identified 43 of the 50 people named on the plaques and is hoping to return them to Dulwich in time for Remembrance Sunday. All the deceased were members of the congregation of the former Emmanuel Church, now called Christ Church, in East Dulwich.
The plaques are in good condition and show some signs of burnishing, so it is suspected that someone brought them to the prison workshop to be cleaned but forgot about them. Mr Hall said: "Two or three weeks ago, three plaques were found in the motorcycle workshop at the prison, having certainly been there prior to 1996. I don't know how they got there. "One of the chaps who works there gave them to one of the members at Sywell Museum. I was asked to see if I could find out where they had come from. "Arrangements are in hand at the moment to get them down there by the weekend. It is nice for the plaques to go 'back home'. "They had obviously been tucked away and forgotten about."
Mr Hall has been in touch with community group The Dulwich Society, which is organising for the plaques to be re-fixed in the church on their return. The society's chairman Ian McInnes said: "We're on the case. We think they were taken away in the mid-1960s for cleaning and were lost. "Somebody may be able to pick them up before Saturday. If they could it would be great. But they will be back here. It is interesting stuff." The soldiers whose names adorn the plaque served mostly in the Army in France and at sea.