BMVCRP Press Release: Book Launch

The Fallen of the First World War from the towns and villages along the Blackmore Vale Line 

Members of Station groups from the Blackmore Vale Community Rail Partnership (BVCRP) met at Sherborne Castle Garden Centre to launch the memorial book produced by Caroline Rowlands on behalf of the fallen in the First World War.

This will be the first event that South Western Railways Area Community Rail Manager has attended since the signing of the joint CRP agreement. Every station group will be signing in to the Community Rail Partnership because they believe this will enhance and improve the stations and the travel experience of the local community. Already people have been very appreciative of the attractive plants and better more comfortable facilities that have resulted from the activities of the station groups.

The morning  started with an introduction from Chair Gail Coleshill who outlined the aims of the BVCRP and then introduced Andrew Harrowell, the area Comunity Rail Partnership manager, Caroline Rowland, the author of the book and Norman Crabb, photographer. The morning finished with the poem ’The going down of the sun’ read by John Whitfield ,CRP deputy chair and the ‘last post’  played on a bugle from the First World War by FOCS member John Coleshill.

A photo of the Book Launch at Sherborne Castle Gardens.

Caroline explained how she came to write the book when during her research she discovered that many of the soldiers from the local area did not have a known memorial in this country. Following the tradition of railway companies after the First World War who commissioned memorials to lost railway workers, like the one at Waterloo Station, London, members of the BVCRP decided it would be fitting to commission memorial plaques at each of the stations to honour the memory of fallen railway workers for this part of the line. Nearly 2,000 individuals for the 12 towns and villages along the line have been found and identified in the book.

Caroline said We owe a great debt to work of Fabian Ware and The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, without whom we could not have found and identified our soldiers and Nurse Dorothy Stacey for the book. Had those who worked with Fabian Ware on the battlefields, identifying bodies, marking graves and pegging out cemeteries, 100 years later we would not know who any of the fallen were. Today there are 1,741,360 individuals who died in the First and Second World wars and later conflicts who have a grave or commemoration somewhere in the world.”

Andrew Harrowell said a few words about how the BVCRP has been set up to promote the area to prospective rail passengers, work with station groups to enhance and improve station facilities, work to secure stakeholders and funding partners such as local business and local authorities and produce a line action plan and a line guide. He was delighted to be invited to Sherborne and said

“It was great to help launch the book at Sherborne along with the Blackmore Vale Community Rail Partnership. It’s a poignant book that recognises the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in service for their country more than a hundred years ago. The fact that the information for the book has been p ut together by the local communities involved makes it all the more special. We are delighted to have been able to provide the funding to support the CRP for the publication of this tribute.”

 Books are available at Templecombe Station, Milborne Port Newsagents, Chapterhouse Books, Trendle Street Sherborne, Gillingham Museum and Yeovil Junction Station.

If you would like to buy a copy of this book for £16.00 please contact:

  • Chair of FOCS Tony Reese on 07967947335
  • Secretary of FOCS Gail Coleshill on 01460 75341

Phillip Bell