THE names of all the servicemen from the Brookeborough area who were killed in the First and Second World Wars are to be added to the village’s historic Boer War Memorial as part of a £10,000 restoration project taking place this year.
At present, the monument is inscribed with only three names - Sergeant William Brown, Trooper William Palmer and Private Robert Noble, all soldiers from Brookeborough who were killed in the Boer War.
Originally unveiled in August 1901, when the conflict in South Africa was still being fought, it is believed to have been the first war memorial to be erected in the UK.
Now, a War Memorial Committee formed by Brookeborough Development Association is spending £10,000 on restoring the monument to its former glory.
As part of the work, the names of all the men from Brookeborough and its surrounding townlands who died in the two World Wars will be added to the memorial.
The Committee asked Enniskillen man, Clive Johnston, to carry out the research into the local soldiers.
Mr. Johnston, who volunteers at the Inniskillings Museum, had previously published a book on the Fermanagh War Memorial located at Belmore Street in Enniskillen.
During the course of his latest research, Mr. Johnston uncovered 47 soldiers from within a five-mile radius of Brookeborough who were killed in World War I and a further 12 who died in World War II.
Speaking to the Impartial Reporter, the researcher said there had been a “colossal number” of young men from the small village out fighting in both wars.
He said: “Families have stories to tell, but none have them written down, so this research is important.”
The names of the dead servicemen will be added to a bronze memorial plaque, designed by Mr. Johnston, that will be placed along the foot of the memorial.
The Committee will also be producing a booklet listing all the soldiers whose names will appear on the monument, along with biographical details on each.
Initially, around 500 copies of the booklet will be published.
Arthur Ovens, chairman of Brookeborough Development Association, said that the plans to restore the monument came about after the group was informed that funds were available from the British War Memorial Trust (BWMT).
Mr. Ovens said that a grant from the BWMT was covering 75 per cent of the cost. He added that the committee would also be carrying out fundraising of their own.
A number of events are taking place in March and April as part of the fundraising efforts for the project, including a history talk and a sponsored walk.
Meanwhile, on Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8, the Station House in Brookeborough will host open days to display memorabilia and to collect final information for the project.
Stressing that the project was for all of the Brookeborough community, Mr. Johnston said that in each of the biographies for the soldiers he had included their religion.
He said that a “large percentage” - around a third - of the servicemen who were killed were Catholic.
The War Memorial Committee wants to offer the information they have compiled to all the village’s primary schools and churches, allowing them to do research and find out more about local history.
Mr. Ovens added: “It’s nice to involve the whole village in it.”
The Committee are planning to launch the booklet at Station House in Brookeborough on Friday, September 24 this year, followed by a dedication service at the site of the restored monument two days later.
Keen not to miss out any names on the memorial, the Committee has appealed for anyone with information that may be of use to get in touch.
They would particularly like to hear from people who have moved away from the Brookeborough area, but may know of relatives who fought in either World War.