To die in the line of duty is the ultimate sacrifice a person can make.
And the word ‘hero’ is rightfully bestowed on those who have fallen in the name of their country.
These people should always be remembered and Cheshire East Council is now to erect a memorial in recognition of six men from the Royal Engineers, who were killed whilst attempting to disarm German bombs in a field between Crewe and Nantwich in August 1940.
With the 100th anniversary of the Royal Engineers approaching in 2012, the Council feels the bravery of the former bomb disposal unit, whose members were Sergeant Edward Greengrass, Sapper Harold Thompson, Sapper Michael Lambert, Sapper Albert Edward Fearon, Sapper George Lucas and Sapper John Percival, should be honoured.
The men successfully defused three bombs which had fallen in the field near Alvaston Hall. But as they worked on the final bomb it exploded, killing all six men.
The Council’s Cabinet has accepted a motion put forward by councillors Dorothy Flude and Chris Thorley to erect a small memorial near to Alvaston Hall.
Councillor Wesley Fitzgerald, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “As an authority we take the role of the military, both past and present, very seriously.
“These six men sacrificed their lives in order to protect the local population. The fact that their bravery wasn’t recognised at the time makes this new memorial all the more important.”
Councillor Flude, ward member for Crewe South, said: “This was such a tragedy but due to issues of security and morale, the incident was not reported in the press at the time and their names are not recorded locally.
“Our brave and well-trained men and women are currently diffusing bombs in places like Afghanistan. But these six men did not have such a luxury of training and knowledge and found themselves making the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. It is only right they are remembered.”
Councillor Thorley, ward member for Crewe East, added: “It is of the highest importance that these men are remembered for their extreme bravery and I am delighted that Cheshire East Council is to provide a fitting memorial to them.”
According to the War Graves Commission, Thompson, Lambert, Fearon and Lucas were killed instantly and Sergeant Greengrass died two days later in hospital. There is, however, no official record of a Sapper John Percival.
Desmond Curtis, Chairman of the Crewe branch of the Royal Engineers Association, said: “I fully support the move by Cheshire East Council to erect a memorial to remember these brave men.
“The work of many bomb disposal units from the Second World War has gone unnoticed so memorials such as this are very special.”
Cheshire East Council is now attempting to make contact with the families of the men, who could help to provide any memoirs to help the authority to create a lasting tribute.
Sgt Greengrass is buried at Wandsworth, London; Sapper Thompson at Hornchurch, London; Sapper Lambert at Kensall Green, London; Sapper Fearon at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sapper Lucas in Manchester.
An unveiling ceremony, involving families, the Royal Engineers Association, and army and Council representatives is now being planned.
Cheshire East would like anyone who may have information regarding these men to contact 01270 686012.