Brookeborough Boer War Memorial Will Undergo Modifications

British troops in the Boer War. Photo Credit

The names of all the servicemen from the Brookeborough region who died in the First and Second World Wars will be added to the village’s historic Boer War Memorial as part of a £10,000 refurbishment Project set for this year.

Currently, the monument is engraved with only three names: Sgt. William Brown, Private Robert Noble, and Trooper William Palmer.  All were from Brookeborough and perished in the Boer War.

Originally shown on August 1901, when the war in South Africa was still underway, it is credited with having been the first war memorial created in the UK.

A War Memorial Committee organized by the Brookeborough Development Association is putting £10,000 into restoring the monument to its former grandeur.

The committee requested Clive Johnston, to complete the research into the local soldiers.

Johnston had earlier published a book about the Fermanagh War Memorial situated on Belmore Street in Enniskillen.

During his latest research, Johnston discovered 47 soldiers from within a five-mile radius of Brookeborough who died in World War I and an additional 12 who died in World War Two.

Johnston said during a conversation with the Impartial Reporter that there had been a large number of young men from the small village who fought in both wars.  Families have stories to relate, but none of them have been written down, so the research is significant.

The names of the deceased servicemen will be added to a bronze memorial plaque, designed by Johnston, which will be positioned at the foot of the memorial.

The committee will also be publishing a booklet listing all the soldiers whose names will appear on the monument, accompanied by biographical details.

Initially, approximately 500 copies will be printed.

Arthur Ovens, chairman of the Brookeborough Development Association, said that the plans to refurbish the monument started after the group was told that monies were available from the British War Memorial Trust (BWMT).  The grant will cover 75 percent of the cost.  He added that the committee would also be conducting fundraising events.

A series of events are planned for March and April as part of the fundraising work for the

The project includes a sponsored walk and history talk.

Also, on April 7 and April 8, the Station House in Brookeborough will host open days to exhibit memorabilia and to gather final information for the Project.

The War Memorial Committee wishes to offer the information they have gathered to all the village’s churches and primary school, permitting them to conduct research and learn more about local history.

Ovens said it is nice to involve the entire village.

The committee is preparing to launch the booklet at Brookeborough’s Station House on September 24, followed by a dedication service at the site of the restored monument 48 hours later, The Impartial Reporter reported.

To ensure no names are missing from the monument, the committee has appealed for anyone with further information to contact them.

In particular, they wish to hear from people who have relocated from the Brookeborough area, but may be aware of relatives who fought in either World War.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE