I never knew any of the ninety men whose names are etched in stone on the Barrow-upon-Soar War Memorial, only of their cause and their sacrifices, like so many brave men and women the world over who fought and died.

 
 
 
 

DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE 90 FALLEN MEN OF BARROW-UPON-SOAR

The people of our village were apprehensive at first, questioning why an American was researching the war dead of their small village. It took time for them to understood why I had taken up this hallowed mission to spend several years dedicated to this cause. It was also a commitment I made to those brave men of our village.

I never knew any of the 90 men whose names are etched in stone on the Barrow-upon-Soar War Memorial, only of their cause and their sacrifices, like so many brave men and women the world over who have served their country and those who fought and died.

As a U.S. Air Force Veteran myself, I feel empowered to speak for my buddies who served and those who never came home. There are 58,000 names on the Vietnam War Memorial alone, each of which I wish could have been here to stand beside me to honour the war dead on Remembrance Sunday. There are millions of names of both men and women etched in cold stone around the world who would like to have been a part of this day. But they had no choice. They were not as lucky as some of us were. It is because of  their selfless sacrifice that every Armistice Day, November 11th, and on Remembrance Sunday, those of us who served and came home to our families can stand together to remember the lives of our comrades in arms, their sacrifice and our great  loss.

The tyrants of the world would dictate our lives and our freedoms would be nonexistent. Remembrance Day goes much deeper than our promise to never forget our veterans, living and dead, who sacrificed so much to protect loved ones and friends by preserving our country from adversity. For those of us who have served and survived the immorality of war or those now on active duty around the world, being faced with the reality of being taken captive, wounded, dismembered or sent home to our loved ones in a flag draped coffin, is terrifying. We live with this reality every day of our military service. We are flesh and bone. Our blood runs just as red no matter which side we are fighting on, or the cause we are prepared to die for.

We may be of different nationalities, friend or foe, British, American, French, Russian, German, Korean, Vietnamese, Kosovan. Black or White, Protestant, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, agnostic. We may be a part of a Defensive Force in a distant land seldom mentioned as tourist destinations or patrolling the quiet streets of a small quiet village not all that distant from our own home town or protecting us from hostile forces that sail the treacherous seas or the sky above us.

We are the young men and women who have inborn in us a sense of conviction, to preserve justice, peace, and liberty for all. Yet, at the same time, we fight an even bigger battle with our own conscience. At some point we may be forced to question the right or wrong of our actions in the performance of our duty as a soldier, sailor or airman. But never our commitment to our families and our Nation to guarantee our freedom and protect our country from tyranny, even though we are sometimes faced with the eventuality of a confrontation with an adversary, knowing well, that today, we may die. There really isn't a choice. We answered the call of our forefathers who fought and died for just these principles.

Many people have assisted me in making this work possible. I am particularly indebted  to families and friends of the fallen men of our small village who generously and graciously shared their memories and precious mementos with me. And to those who helped me with the impossible task of assembling the many  personal photographs required to illustrate this site. I hope that I have honoured your loved one with respect and faithfulness to his memory. Thank you.

I would like to thank the many veterans of our village for sharing their memories with me and in this respect a warm  thank you to Joe Brookes and Jack Perkins for their kind and thoughtful assistance. It was an emotional journey for many. Thank you to Lesley Bell, Clerk to the Parish Council of Barrow-upon-Soar for giving me access to village burial records and Lynne Brookes for allowing me to use excerpts from her book The History of Holy Trinity Church.

A special ' thank you' for the efforts of the many volunteer men and woman who have contributed their time, money and love for their own memorial research projects who have allowed me access to their photographic archives. There are far too many people for me to thank individually in this limited space.

Each person visualizes the horror of war in their own imagination, selects from their collection of brushes, and paints from their own pallet. I chose to create a tapestry, woven from the scattered and broken threads of each of their lives. Together we have created a tapestry, a tangible memorial of the men who died for King and Country, that others might live in freedom.

In respect to the 90 men listed on The Roll of Honour, I have tried to make this account as accurate as possible, using a variety of sources from computer, library, military archives and personal accounts, I, of course, accept full responsibility for any errors of fact or judgement.

It is the prayer of each of us that we never have to enter another name of a loved one or friend in The Book of Remembrance, or see their names etched in the cold granite of a monument where we go once a year to remember them with a wreath made of red poppies.

This site is limited to it's content. In time a book will be published detailing the lives of these men along with photographs, documents and brief accounts told by their family and friends.

May God protect from harm those serving members of our military forces around the world who preserve our right to peace and liberty through their unceasing covenant to God and Country.

Thank you

Ralph William Bowles

Barrow-upon-Soar, Leicestershire UK

04 July 2008 

Ralph Bowles
 
   
 
Ralph Bowles farewell to Barrow-upon-Soar.
Presentations were made by the Mayor of Charnwood, Cllr. Roy Brown and
Mayoress, Mrs. Gillian Brown, on behalf of the Charnwood Borough Council
at a Farewell Service to Ralph, an adopted son of Barrow-upon-Soar,
 on his return to the United States of America,
 which was held in Holy Trinity Church on Sunday, September 6, 2009.
A presentation of appreciation was made by the Barrow-upon-Soar Parrish Council
 on behalf of his many friends in the village.
 
 
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