Plans take shape to salute Berkhamsted’s First World War heroes

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Heroes of the First World War laid to rest in Berkhamsted could earn a salute from a new generation if plans to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the conflict next year come to fruition.

Plans under discussion include creating a trail around Rectory Lane Cemetery, pointing out the graves of war heroes who are buried there. A memorial garden could also be planted at the cemetery.

Among the town’s glorious dead is General Horace Smith-Dorrien, commander of the British Second Corps and Second Army of the British Expeditionary Force.

Trenches in Berkhamsted were used during the war to train more than 14,000 troops from the Inns of Court Officers Training Corps, nicknamed The Devil’s Own, for front-line battle.

The Chilterns Conservation Board and The Chiltern Society is in the process of mapping the trenches, and hopes to have finished the work in time for the anniversary.

The two groups are now looking for funding for an information board beside the trenches, off New Road, and leaflets about the project.

Meanwhile, St Peter’s Church and the Berkhamsted Local History and Museum Society plan on researching the stories behind every name on the town’s war memorials. These could be read out during church services.

The Berkhamsted, Tring and District Royal British Legion are planning a parade on the Sunday nearest August 4, the date when Britain declared war on Germany.

The plans were announced by Councillor Penella Warren at a meeting of Berkhamsted Town Council on Monday.

But Councillor Carol Green said: “I do not think this is something to be commemorated – the end of the war, certainly, but not the beginning.”

But Councillor Elaine Collins said: “History is such an important thing for people to know where they are and who they are and why they happen to be doing what they are doing now.”

Councillors agreed to research further what could be done in Berkhamsted to commemorate the war’s outbreak.