A field of more than 10,000 poppy crosses remembering each soldier of the Royal Hampshire Regiment killed in active service has been dedicated in Winchester.
The poppy crosses, in the Regimental Garden at the Serle's House Museum on Southgate Street, will remain in place until mid-September allowing people to visit and reflect on the sacrifice of those killed in two world wars and since the Second World War.
Serle’s House Museum has just completed a refurbishment after receiving a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £93,000.
The poppy crosses remember 8,023 soldiers killed in WW1; 2,149 in WW2 and 87 who have died since the end of the Second World War.
The poppy crosses were put in place by cadets from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Army Cadet Force. They included Sophie Groves “To see the amount of crosses, it’s quite overwhelming. It’s important for us to see this. We meet veterans here and they tell us their stories and we can pass them on. It’s great to be able to have that communication.”
Many veterans attended the service along with Johnson Beharry VC: “I came in and the first thing I saw was the number of crosses. And this is just one regiment imagine if you put them all together how many there would be. My Regiment, the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment was created from an amalgamation including the Royal Hampshire Regiment so it’s keeping the family relationship. But even if this was not my Regiment I would still be here. These men laid their lives down to give me, to give us, the platform we are standing on today, so it’s the least I could do.”
Lt Col Colin Bulleid, Secretary of the Royal Hampshire Regiment Trust said: “I’ve been delighted with the service today. The fact that so many people have turned out to pay their respects for the fallen of the Regiment is absolutely wonderful. We wanted the Field of Remembrance to embrace all generations and by bringing the Army Cadet Force in we have been able to show them what their forebears did and the standards that should be set.”
“People can sponsor a named cross for a space beneath the cherry tree in the garden. It can be for any Regiment of any service. Anyone interested should contact us here at Serle’s House. We think the Field of Remembrance will be a fitting tribute and commemoration to those members of the Regiment who gave their lives so that we may be able to sit out and enjoy it.”