A small Working Group was recently established within the club to explore the potential for a permanent Linfield Memorial to be erected in the Somme region of Northern France. The purpose of this Memorial will be to commemorate the players from the club who served and died in the region during the First World War.
This week a delegation from the club visited the region to meet with local officials to discuss our plans. The delegation was led by Chairman Roy McGivern and also present were Director Ronnie Morrison, Academy Coach Johnny Jamison and facilitator Philip Hamilton from the 36th Ulster Division Battlefield Tours.
The focus of the visit was the small village of Bertrancourt which is around 15km from the Thiepval Memorial and the Ulster Tower. This is a village where soldiers from the 36th Ulster Division, including Linfield players, would have passed through on their journey to the front line.
The Linfield delegation met with the local Mayor Patrick Schricke and Deputy Mayor Celine Jasiak and presented their outline plans for a permanent club Memorial in the village. A copy of the initial drawing is shown below. The plans were warmly welcomed by the local officials and a suitable site for the Memorial has been identified in the centre of the village, adjacent to the French War Memorial.
These plans will now be progressed over the coming months with a target date of late August 2020 agreed for the official unveiling and dedication. We will keep supporters advised as these plans progress but the target date is subject to various milestones being met over the coming months. Discussions have also taken place about a possible game involving a Linfield X1 or youth side in the town of Albert to coincide with the Memorial unveiling.
Whilst this project has the full endorsement of the Linfield Board, it has largely been supporter driven and an enthusiastic group of supporters have launched a fundraising campaign to meet the costs of the Memorial. This is led by Paul Rowbotham and Roy Booth from the York Star LSC and they have established a Linfield Memorial Fund. This Fund already has over 60 members, including supporters clubs and individual supporters, who have pledged £100 each. Every member of the Fund will be officially recognised when the Memorial is completed and will of course be invited to attend the ceremony in France. Further details about the Fund and how to contribute can be obtained from Roy Booth on 07467486566.
The Monkstown True Blues and York Star clubs have also organised a fundraising event in Monkstown Social Club on Saturday 25th January from 8.30pm. The cost of admission is £5.00 and entertainment will be provided by Harv. Johnny Jamison will also deliver a short tribute to the Linfield Fallen on the night.
This is an exciting project for the club and will be a lasting and fitting Memorial to the brave players from Linfield FC who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Lest We Forget