Worthing residents sent poppy crosses in First World War remembrance campaign

Major Tom Wye compiled biographies of the soldiers with the Friends of Broadwater and Worthing Cemetery
Major Tom Wye compiled biographies of the soldiers with the Friends of Broadwater and Worthing Cemetery

An Army veteran has stuffed hundreds of envelopes with poppy crosses in a effort to remember those who died in the First World War.

Major Tom Wye, who served in the Royal Engineers for 37 years, will deliver them by the end of the month to houses in Worthing where the fallen used to live.

Each envelope contains a poppy remembrance cross with the casualty’s name on it, along with a biography of the soldier, to be displayed in the recipient’s window.

Mr Wye, 76, said: “There are 26 envelopes for Cranworth Road alone, for example. People walking along will be hit with the sacrifice people in that one road made.”

The Herald and Gazette has been supporting Mr Wye’s campaign for the past four years by publishing biographies of people from the area who died in the Great War, 100 years after their deaths.

A Worthing borough councillor, Mr Wye has experience of leading remembrance projects. In 1998, upon returning from the Army, he led an effort to locate and clean every war grave in Broadwater Cemetery.

He said: “It was in such a state that you couldn’t find them. I was absolutely disgusted.”

Mr Wye was a founder of the Friends of Broadwater Cemetery, a group that is heavily involved in this current project.

He said: “I knew we had some good researchers so I suggested off the cuff at a meeting that we researched every man on the War Memorial.

“It took ten of us four years but we had a 97 per cent success rate and produced it in book form for Worthing Library.”

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