Through the efforts of local resident Sean Connolly it has recently been brought to the attention of Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham, Rainham South Hornchurch and Elm Park that seventy-five names of fallen soldiers and civilians are not commemorated on the Rainham War Memorial. Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park have a long and proud service history and it is because of this that local MP Jon Cruddas is launching a campaign to have the War Memorial re-commemorated to remember all of Rainham’s fallen service men and women.
The issue was raised with Havering Council over two years ago but sadly was not taken into consideration during the memorial restoration project. The discussion at the time between campaigners and Havering Council was that it would not be possible to re-commemorate the memorial. However, it came to light that in the 1980’s the council did fund the addition of four new panels to the memorial including amendments.
The extensive research of dedicated resident Sean Connolly has brought to light that the names of 24 servicemen from WWI, 42 from WWII and an additional 9 civilian names who were casualties of WWII are missing from the War Memorial as it currently stands.
Jon Cruddas who is helping Sean to build public awareness around the campaign has said: “When Sean first raised this with me I couldn’t believe that it hadn’t been picked up by Havering Council. Knowing the proud service history of Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park I think that this campaign is extremely important to the memory of our fallen servicemen and women.”
The campaign will also include a commitment to commemorating a local incident that took place during WWI. In 1916 a munitions factory which was situatedin the Ferry Lane area of Rainham caught fire. The resulting explosion killed seven employees and injured over eighty, many were local residents. For this reason, the petition is also calling on the council to build a new memorial to commemorate those that died whilst supporting the war effort at home in Rainham.
Jon said: “It is important to remember that our freedoms are built on the sacrifices of those that went before. This campaign has great significance for many people, and I am urging residents to get behind me and Sean to ensure that residents who made the ultimate sacrifice for our way of life are remembered.”