Despite the winter chill, a large crowd attended the re-dedication of Andover’s First World War memorial on Saturday.
The ceremony marked the 95th anniversary of the death of local soldier, Second Corporal Reginald Robbins. It also marked the day when his name officially took its rightful place on the memorial.
After serving his country in Europe and Egypt during World War One, Reginald was returning home from active service in January 1920 when, in a cruel twist of fate, he contracted Spanish flu. On reaching English shores he was immediately taken to hospital but sadly he died two days later.
Although Reginald’s name was included in the roll of honour read out at the memorial’s original unveiling ceremony in 1920, his name was never etched into the stone itself.
This injustice has now been righted, and the memorial was re-dedicated in a poignant ceremony held by Reverend John Harkin and the Mayor of Test Valley, Councillor Jan Lovell. Attending was Nigel Atkinson Esq, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire; Lt General Sir Mark Mans, Chief Royal Engineer; other military representatives; several members of Reginald’s family, and descendants of other soldiers remembered on the memorial.
Wreaths were laid and a two minute silence allowed all to reflect on the bravery and sacrifice of the fallen.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Carr, said: “The ceremony was one of reflection and appreciation of the life of Reginald Robbins. He has now been accorded the respect that he deserves, and his name will be remembered in perpetuity, alongside comrades who also made the ultimate sacrifice.”
The original discovery was also covered by Forces.TV and has an interview with local historian Craig Fisher. Watch their video here.