Hartlepool volunteers pay their respects to the fallen by creating Field of Remembrance

Hartlepool Poppy Appeal organiser Sian Cameron with some of the Royal British Legion wooden crosses.
Hartlepool Poppy Appeal organiser Sian Cameron with some of the Royal British Legion wooden crosses.

Volunteers in Hartlepool today have been paying their respects to the fallen.

Around 20 people were busy in the town today creating a Field of Remembrance around Hartlepool war memorial for tomorrow’s Armistice commemorations.

Remembrance crosses in the Westminster Abbey Field of Remembrance in London last year.

Remembrance crosses in the Westminster Abbey Field of Remembrance in London last year.

The project will see 1,750 small wooden crosses with poppies planted around the memorial in Victory Square.

All but one will carry a name of the 1,749 known First World War casualties from the town and a single unnamed one representing all of Hartlepool’s unknown soldiers.

The Hartlepool Field of Remembrance was the idea of Hartlepool Labour party members and friends Anth Frain, Ian Cawley, and Coun Dave Hunter with backing from Hartlepool Poppy appeal organiser Sian Cameron among others.

Ian Cawley, a veteran of the Green Howards, said he was delighted with the response they have had to the project.

We have had a fantastic response from the public

Ian Crawley

He said: “We are extremely pleased with the way it has all come together, with all the offers of support we have had.

“We have had a fantastic response from the public with many people sharing the story about what we are doing.”

The volunteers were on site at 10am this morning to start putting the poppies in place.

Ian said the crosses will be in place for about three days.

He said: “We will put them away to use again next year and we also plan to do something similar to mark the 80th anniversary of the Second World War.”

The tradition of planting a Field of Remembrance started in 1928 in the grounds of St Margaret’s church, Westminster.

There was one at Westminster Abbey opened by Prince Harry last year.

Local Historian Bert Wilson has put together a list of the Hartlepool casualties for the town’s field.

The organisers have set up a funding page in a bid to raise more than £4,000 to pay for the wooden crosses in the town, which will be donated to the Royal British Legion.

At the moment the amount stands at £1,555, but anyone who would like to make a donation can still do so at Hartlepool Field of Remembrance on www.gofundme.com.

Anth Frain says on the fundraising page: “Hartlepool is well known for our commitment, support and dedication to our Armed Forces with impressive year on year donations to our local poppy appeals, but with this year marking the centenary of the end of The Great War, we’re hoping you’ll go a little further.”

Sian Cameron said: “It is a really poignant way of remembering the people that we lost and in quite a visual way.

“When you see all those crosses lined up it will be a real reminder of how many lives were lost just from our town alone.”