Memorial bench for armed forces installed at Veracity ahead of Remembrance Sunday

The Remembrance bench has been installed to commemorate the contribution of armed forces personnel

Pictured (L-R): Ron Pimm and Councillor Alex Houghton, Sherriff of Southampton

A new Remembrance bench has been installed at Veracity Recreation Ground in Peartree to commemorate the contribution of armed forces personnel.

The new Armed Forces seat bench, an idea from a local resident, incorporates imagery of Armed Forces personnel, a War Horse, a nurse, ambulance and poppies along with a plaque which says: ‘IN MEMORIAM OF ALL ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL - To those who marched, and those who still march, in defence of our Sovereign, Country and Freedom.’

The bench will join a suite of four that have already been placed around the city to commemorate the contribution of armed forces personnel. These can be found at Southampton Old Cemetery, South Stoneham Garden of Remembrance at Stoneham Cemetery, Hollybrook Cemetery and Lances Hill.

The Remembrance bench joins a second war memorial in Peartree at Peartree Church Cemetery, dedicated to World War 1 soldiers.

After the First World War, The Cenotaph was built in Watts Park (known as East Park), with the names of the armed service personnel from the Borough of Southampton killed in action engraved on the sides. At the time Peartree and Woolston were not considered part of the Borough of Southampton, so the names of the soldiers from Peartree and Woolston who lost their lives are not featured on The Cenotaph or on the glass memorial walls that followed more recently. For that reason, in 1921, Peartree Church commissioned its own memorial to those killed in action who lived locally. This has recently been restored as part of the church’s 400th anniversary and can be viewed a short walk away from the Veracity remembrance bench.

As way to keep active during the new national restrictions, residents could walk, run or cycle to their local war memorials in Southampton as an act of remembrance this year. As well as the Remembrance benches this includes the plaque at Town Quay Park, a tree at Mayflower Park to commemorate The Falklands, the Burma Memorial at Grosvenor Square, The Cenotaph in Watts Park and a memorial at Hollybrook Cemetery. You can download a map of the memorials from the Visit Southampton website.

Share your photos with us paying your respects at the memorials on social media using the hashtags #NeverForgotten and #SouthamptonRemembers.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture said: “Southampton City Council is tremendously proud of our armed forces, both past serving and present. The city played an invaluable role in our war efforts and the remembrance benches, including the new armed forces bench at Veracity Recreation Ground, offers a place to pay respects, and show appreciation for the contribution the armed forces community have made and continue to make today.”

Councillor Alex Houghton, Sherriff of Southampton adds: “It remains as important as ever that we remember the lives lost and the sacrifices of so many people in war and conflict. This touches all of us and this new memorial bench at Veracity Rec acts as a fitting reminder to the Itchen and Merry Oak community.”

Ron Pimm from the Southampton Veterans Centre said: “Any act of remembrance to me means so much and touches me in the heart. It is a beautiful bench in a great location.”

Southampton City Council has this year been announced amongst the most supportive organisations for Britain’s Armed Forces, by receiving The Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award, the highest award achievable for an organisation.

For more information about how Southampton is marking Remembrance this year, visit: www.visitsouthampton.co.uk/remembrance.