Hunt for Reigate and Banstead war memorial stories

Banstead war memorial
Image caption Banstead war memorial is one of six maintained by the borough council

A Surrey council is trying to compile the stories of hundreds of service men and women who died in the both world wars.

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council has identified 200 war graves in its cemeteries and churchyards and wants the families to come forward.

It is part of a project to restore graves and war memorials to mark the centenary of the start of WW1.

"It is absolutely essential," said Councillor Joan Spiers.

"Otherwise we will lose all those wonderful stories about those men lying there without proper recognition.

"It is not difficult to find a name but it is difficult to find out about what they did.

"We would really like to hear from anyone who knows anything about someone who died in either war."

She said she hoped that once the stories were gathered, plaques in the cemeteries would be made to display the information.

Funding bids

Some of the graves are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission but others are in a poor state of repair.

The council estimates the cost of refurbishing its memorials alone will be about £30,000.

It has set money aside but has also put in funding bids to the War Memorials Trust and will also be hoping for National Lottery help.

The council hopes to have finished the restoration by June.

The council's six war memorials are in Banstead, Redhill, Chipstead Meads, Merstham, South Park and Walton-on-the-Hill.

Its cemeteries are Redstone and St John's in Redhill, Reigate, and St Katharine's Merstham.

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