Wiltshire war memorial restored after 'mystery height loss'

Amesbury war memorial in the 1960s
Image caption The Amesbury war memorial lost four feet in height when it was moved from the town's green

A Wiltshire war memorial that was "mysteriously" shortened when it was moved in the 1960s, has been restored.

The war memorial in Amesbury was erected in 1920 to honour the town's 62 residents who lost their lives in World War I and World War II.

But in 1964, when the cross was re-sited to make way for a town by-pass, it was found to be 4ft (1.2m) shorter.

Now, following a £6,000 restoration project, the memorial has been "returned to its former glory".

Bill Dunn, the secretary the Amesbury Society, said the memorial had stood on the town's green before "it had to be moved".

"It was taken down in 1964 and was in a council yard for about four or five years before it was re-sited in the churchyard at St. Mary and St. Melor Church," he said.

"By then it had mysteriously lost four feet in height and was a shadow of its former self."

Image caption It was thought the memorial was shortened because of overhanging trees in the churchyard

According to Mr Dunn, "no one will take the blame" and he dismisses the theory it was "made shorter because of overhanging trees in the churchyard".

"It's away from the trees and it's much easier to cut a couple of branches off a tree then cut through stone," he said.

"The most likely scenario is that it was removed in a heavy-handed way and it actually broke - the shaft must have snapped - and they just shortened it and stuck it back up again."

The two year restoration project, funded by the War Memorials Trust and the Co-operative Society Community Fund, was completed on Wednesday, in time for Remembrance Day on Sunday.

"Now we'd ideally like it to be put back in the town centre," said Mr Dunn.

"But it can't be put anywhere and at the moment there's nowhere for it to go but we're hoping it will soon take pride of place in the town."

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