Memorial date set

  • by Staff Writer
  • Friday, 19th June 2009

A memorial to the 13th (Service) Battalion of the Essex Regiment is to be unveiled at the Boleyn Ground later this year.

The regiment - who were more commonly known as 'The Hammers', or 'The West Ham Pals' - consisted mainly of West Ham United supporters and Thames Ironworks employees. Formed in December 1914 shortly after the onset of war many of its men were killed in action on the Western Front during the ensuing campaign.

Despite rumours that an original memorial to the men may have been destroyed by the Blitz during the Second World War, it is unclear whether one was ever actually commisioned. However some 90 years after the First World War ended that is all finally set to change thanks to the efforts of a website dedicated to the memory of those who fought in the 13th Battalion.

http://westhampals.blogspot.com/ is a blog dedicated to the battalion and is packed with information including (often harrowing) first hand accounts from those involved in the fighting. With the assistance of West Ham United FC, they have arranged for the memorial to be placed at the Boleyn Ground, where it will be unveiled ahead of the home game with Everton on 7th November.

Despite having initially earmarked a spot in Castle Street, the club later insisted that the memorial take pride of place by the Boleyn's main reception area, where it will be seen by more visitors to the club.

The blog's owners have commisioned local family funeral directors H L Hawes & Son to produce the memorial. To discover more about the regiment, make sure you've got a good hour to spare and head off to westhampals.blogspot.com.

* Image courtesy Essex Regimental Museum

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