Cambridgeshire

Shepreth war memorial fight over misspelt soldier's name

Shepreth war memorial, Cambridgeshire
Image caption Pte George Samuel's name was given an extra "s" on the village memorial

A woman is fighting to have her great-uncle's name spelled correctly on a village memorial nearly a century after he was killed during World War I.

Alison Corfield said Pte George Samuel died in France aged 20 and his name was put on a war memorial at Shepreth in Cambridgeshire.

But his surname was spelt "Samuels", which she said was never corrected and caused "great distress" to his parents.

Shepreth Parish Council said it was "actively pursuing" the issue.

Mrs Corfield, 67, of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, said the authorities at the time refused to correct the mistake after the memorial was erected and Pte Samuel's family had tried to hide the extra "s" by covering it with mud.

"I'd like to get the wrong righted. It would mean a lot to me and my family and I think it would be appropriate as the centenary approaches," said Mrs Corfield.

"I doubt it can be too difficult to hide or erase the extra letter.

'Villagers will empathise'

Image caption Pte Samuel's parents were allegedly told at the time the error could not be corrected

"We are not talking about one letter or a spelling mistake. We are talking about a young soldier who died in the First World War. Someone's son. His name was George Samuel not George Samuels."

Mrs Corfield said Pte Samuel was a soldier in the London Regiment and believed he fought in the Battle of the Somme, which began in July 1916.

She said he was killed on 30 September 1916 and is buried at St Pierre cemetery in Amiens.

Shepreth Parish Council clerk Charles Cook said he had received a letter from Mrs Corfield and the issue was on the agenda for the next parish council meeting on 11 April.

Mr Cook said: "We are actively pursuing getting this changed for her."

Susan van de Ven, a Liberal Democrat member of Cambridgeshire County Council, said she thought locals would back Mrs Corfield's fight.

"Shepreth villagers, I'm sure, will empathise with George Samuel's family's wish and there could not be a more fitting time to put things right," she said.

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