Soldier's family wins war memorial battle

By Paul Baker
BBC Inside Out East


The family of a soldier killed in Afghanistan have won a three-year battle to get his name added to a war memorial in Essex.

Royal Anglian Rifleman Robert Foster died in 2007 and since then his parents have campaigned to get his name added to the memorial in Harlow.

Many such memorials are dedicated only to those who lost their lives during World War I and World War II.

But after a three-year wait, Rifleman Foster's name will finally be included in the roll of honour, to the delight of his parents John and Lisa Foster.

The Harlow branch of the Royal British Legion and Harlow Council were unclear about the ownership of the memorial and both said they could not make changes to it.

The War Memorials Act of 1923 allows a local authority to add names to a war memorial whether it owns it or not.

Inside Out told the story of the Foster family after last year's Remembrance Day service.

New memorial

Following the programme, Harlow Council and the Royal British Legion contacted the family to discuss adding their son's name to commemorate his sacrifice.

Now a new memorial has been created and dedicated to honour those who have died in the service of their country since 1945.

Rifleman Foster's mother Lisa said: "We got the impression the council thought it was the Royal British Legion's thing to sort out and the Royal British Legion thought it was up to the council.

"When they finally got together, the ball started rolling and it's great."

Harlow Council appealed for the names of other people who had died in service and were missing from the memorial.

That research revealed three other soldiers should also be included on the memorial.

Gary Love died in 1992 in Northern Ireland after he was taken ill while in service and diagnosed with leukaemia. He returned to England for treatment and went back to active duty before the condition reappeared and he died aged 22.

Andrew Saunders died in 1985 when he was in a coach carrying RAF band members in Germany when it collided with an oil tanker. Cpl Saunders along with 18 other fellow band members and one civilian died.

Colin Carver died in 1967 in Aden when a mutiny by British-trained police led to a massacre of British troops.

Ultimate sacrifice

Mr Carver's sisters Olwen Broadstock and Mollie Carver said: "We've waited 43 years for this.

"We're so proud and so pleased. When you've lost someone who was in the forces all those many years ago and nothing's ever done or ever mentioned, it's a bit hurtful, you feel as though he gave his life for nothing.

"But now everybody knows about it, all of Harlow now knows about it, but now Colin's got his day and that's made my day."

Rifleman Foster's parents added: "It's taken a while coming but it's there and it feels great, lovely to see.

"We're just proud to see Rob's name on there, knowing he was a 19-year-old boy, the choices he made and ultimately the sacrifice he made.

"We're just so proud of Rob and the soldiers that are still serving over there".

The full report can be seen on Inside Out (East) on BBC One at 1930 GMT on Monday 15 November 2010

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