Rev Michael Preston has been vicar of St Barnabas since 1986. The minister from Temple Road, Epsom, remembers the rolls being received by Surrey History Centre in Woking in the 90s.
However, he tried to explain that the rolls have been in a box for a long time and he doesn’t believe they have ever been on display, as there is no evidence supporting it.
“I don’t think it was ever displayed. It was in a box of archive documents going right back to the 1920s,” said Rev Preston.
He recalls the same names being listed on the Ashley Road memorial, and many of them have been duplicated and appear of memorials at the Methodist Church, St. Mary’s, Christ Church and St. Martin’s.
He also talked about the people who’s names were on the rolls of honour and who lived in the parish but he can’t exactly find the connection to St Barnabas, in addition to the fact that the document seems to be damaged and presenting several holes in it, the Epsom Guardian reports.
Mr Clive Gilbert, a local historian, wrote a letter to Rev Michael Preston, inquiring about the old document. He insisted that maybe the rolls haven’t been on display during his service but they must have been out there at some point, as he doesn’t think someone would have framed them, without wanting to display them. He also considered irrelevant the fact that the same names are figured on other memorials.
“The congregations at the time wanted their men’s sacrifice to be known about. Anyone entering the church should be aware of the sacrifices previous congregations made.
“To remove them from the church is little more than a denial that the men who worshiped at the church fought and died, and is a rewriting of history,” said Clive.
The vicar has been aware of the letter, confessing that he has been planning to respond to it but haven’t had the chance because the letter arrived late, due to the way it had been posted, (with the wrong address and postage).
After seeing the documents himself, Mr Gilbert didn’t find them in a perfect condition but neither did he think the rolls of honour had any holes in them whatsoever.
As the anniversary of the First World War is approaching and celebrations and memorials are going to start next year, the vicar asked the committee on Remembrance Sunday, what would be the best way to mark the 100th WWI day.
He considers the found documents as a good starting point in their preparations for the St Barnabas Church celebrations of that day.