TOUCHING tributes have been laid on the graves of 40 soldiers buried in Royton Cemetery to say a special ‘thank you’ for their sacrifices.
This year marks 100 years since the end of World War One and the Royton Branch of the Royal British Legion has joined thousands of others in commemorating the occasion.
They decided to place a cross adorned with a poppy on each of the 36 war graves of local men who fell in WW1 and two, along with four others, who died after being discharged unfit for service.
Numerous other casualties are commemorated on family headstones, and in total there are 510 names on Royton’s Roll of Honour online.
19 casualties on the roll have been buried in other parts of the country where they died, and crosses have also been placed on these graves by Royton RBL.
The research was carried out by Marie Hanley, who joined the RBL earlier this year, and six young cadets helped her place the crosses at the graves at Royton.
Marie explained: “My father served in Poland and I’ve always had an interest in the Legion.
“My husband joined the Royton RBL earlier this year and I dropped him off and was sat waiting in the car so thought I might as well join too!
“I wanted to do something with it being the 100thanniversary and it just grew from there.”
A short service was held outside the cemetery chapel to remember those who have fallen in conflict or are still enduring conflict today.
Cadets read out the names of the fallen from Royton before the standards were lowered by members of Royton RBL and the cadets as the Last Post was played.
Mike Allen, chairman of Royton RBL who attended the event with president Carl Holly, said: “To take part in this event was very humbling and I feel very proud.
“We were looking at commemorating the anniversary and then decided to tie it in with the Thank You campaign from the RBL and Marie has done some wonderful research.”
The Legion has printed information for all the graves and is compiling paperwork for all 510 casualties, and also hopes to clean the graves in the New Year.
Another cross was laid at the grave of Sergeant Michael Pavitt, from Royton, who died on July 13, 2010 aged 46 from cancer attributable to his service with the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).
His widow Andrea, who lives in Shaw, helped cadets lay the cross on his grave.
The couple were married for 18 years and share three children, one of whom is currently serving in Germany with REME.
Join Royton RBL to mark Armistice Day on Sunday, November 11. They meet at Radcliffe Street to march with the ATC to the war memorial for a service at 11am until 11.30am.
Then everyone is welcome to join them at Royton Cricket Club for refreshments from 12noon to tea-time.