Opening up the pages on history at Armed Forces Day

ROY Smith and Jack Cunnane happily admit, they were two of the lucky ones.

But for 510 Roytonians, the First and Second World Wars marked the end of their short lives.

And while Armed Forces Day at the Railway Hotel commemorated 75 years since the D-Day landings, Royton Royal British Legion was also keen to remember the deeds of the town’s fallen heroes.

Pop-up banners were displayed spotlighting each of the 510 victims of the two global wars.

Painstaking research by Maria Hanley is providing personal records of each of the fallen. Two fact filled folders detail soldiers buried in Royton cemetery as well as others buried further afield.

Copies of the research will be soon presented to Royton Library for locals to browse and form the basis of their own ancestry searches.

Graeme Gaffney, vice-chairman of the RBL branch which formed in 2015, was delighted by the turnout and day’s events.

He said: “We were fortunate to have great weather and when coupled with a great selection of live acts made for a great day that helped raise much-needed funds for our branch.

“We also had additional activities ranging from face painting, football skills, memorabilia displays, stalls and games plus being able to research your own family war links.

“The guard of honour given by the branch for Roy and Jack was made up of veterans or current service personnel. We were all so proud to welcome Roy and Jack.”

President, Carl Holly, said: “It was just fantastic to the point of being emotional, even though Roy and Jack seemed to take it all in their stride.”

Graeme added: “We would like to thank everybody who attended and supported the event, in particular Mark and Hayley from the Railway Hotel who hosted the event and arranged the live acts plus Katherine Gamble who sorted the catering.”

• Royton RBL meet at Royton Cricket Club, Bransdale Avenue on the final Thursday of every month (except December) at 8pm.

Branch membership costs £17 per year but is free for 12 to 18-year-olds. You do not have to be a veteran to be a member.

• On September 20, the RBL hosts its annual race night at 8pm.

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