Final truth of fallen soldier; A WOMAN'S CAMPAIGN TO HAVE HER GREAT UNCLE'S WARTIME SACRIFICE RECOGNISED.
A WREATH of poppies around a fading monochrome photograph of a good-looking young man in his Army uniform was, until last year, Vivienne Pearson's only real memory of her great uncle, John Fennell.
Uncle Jack, as the family knew him, fought in the First World War, a proud soldier who did his duty.
It was believed he succumbed to illness after the war and died at home in Attleborough, Nuneaton.
The old picture has now disappeared and the house in Highfield Road has long since stopped being the family home.
Memories of Uncle Jack gradually faded, until last year.
An everyday chat with her mum, Ivy, a few months ago, revealed some shocking news and set Vivienne off on an emotional, frustrating and sentimental journey.
Uncle Jack hadn't died at home. He had been killed in action in the Great War.
This didn't quite make sense to Vivienne. As a child she had looked for his name on the Memorial to The Fallen in Nuneaton's Riversley Park.
But it wasn't there and she thought that it was because he had died years after the conflict.
Encouraged by a friend and her family, Vivienne wrote to the Naval and Military Press, a group providing details of soldiers lost in the Great War.
They informed her: Fennell, John Lissamer, Private 16347, 14th Battalion. Died April 13, 1918. Killed in action. Flanders and France.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission revealed his name was inscribed on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium.
He died along with more than 11,000 young souls who had fought throughout that bloodiest of campaigns with the French and Belgian forces; those who had perished in the blood and mud-soaked battlefields of Flanders and those who lay in unmarked graves.
Vivienne, who lives in Sapcote Road, Burbage, said: ''I was quite emotional really. We knew so little about him. By the time by mum was growing up the war was over.
''It seems no-one really talked about him. And the only thing I can remember was my grandmother and the poppies on his picture.
''It was only when we found out he had been killed in action that it made sense. That must have been her tribute to him, every Armistice day.
"She knew he had fallen in the war, but no-one else seemed to. After all his name isn't on the Memorial.''
Vivienne is now determined to try and find out more about her great uncle and have his memory and sacrifice officially recognised. She hopes to visit the memorial in Belgium and track down a photograph through the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. She said: ''It just seems so unfair. He joined up and fought with everyone else.
"But his body is in an unmarked grave and his name isn't even commemorated in his home town.
''His sacrifice was virtually unknown, it certainly was to us. Now we know about it, we want to make sure he isn't forgotten.''
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)|
|Date:||Jun 9, 1999|
|Previous Article:||Virgin's trains to be tracked.|
|Next Article:||Gala night for pounds 1.5m appeal.|