Wanted: Your help in restoring Plaistow war dead memorial

An appeal is launched to dig out old postcards bearing the names of the war dead from the Great War to help restore a memorial to those who gave their lives to the country.

The call comes from the East London Cemetary and the relatives of a soldeir who died in World War I.

The cemetary, in Grange Road, Plaistow, has several plaques that honour the war dead but the inscriptions have been worn away by weather with the passage of time.

Now Lorraine Melanaphy, whose uncle’s name is on one of the plaques, feels it is important to carry out work and restore them to their former glory in order to remember them, and to honour their sacrifices.

She told the Recorder: “The names of local servicemen killed in WW1, including my uncle, are listed on stone plaques which are on the outside of the chapel and crematorium in East London Cemetery. The names are now illegible and when I asked if something could be done about this I was told they would be restored if all the names could be found. Apparently there were ‘postcards’ with this information on, which were probably given out at the time the plaques were erected.”

“For the majority of these men the plaques are the only place where they have recognition for what they did and I believe that it is the least we can do to keep their names alive for future generations.”

Her uncle James Albert Varley was born in Stepney in January 1898 the second child of James and Eliza Varley.

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The family moved to Kelly Road(now Kildare road) Canning Town around 1900 where another two sisters and three brothers were born. He joined-up at sixteen and was in 11th Essex Regiment. He was killed in action on October 17 1918 near Cambrai, France and is buried there in Premont British Cemetery, Aisne.

Lorraine, 65, said: “But some of these men do not have a recognised place of burial and all of them should have their names where they can be seen in this country where future generations can see them, they went through too much to be forgotten.”

She was born and brought up in Custom House but now lives in Walton-on-the-Naze, in Essex.

Her call for postcards is repeated by Toni Slade, manager of the cemetary. Anyone with the postcards can send them to her at the cemetary in Grange Road, Plaistow.