Portsmouth Football Club will pay tribute to the men who fell in the Great War with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at Fratton Park almost 100 years since the start of the conflict to end all conflicts.
Organised by the Pompey Pals’ charity, which is dedicated to raising awareness of the battalions, which were some of the first to enlist, two memorials will be unveiled outside the club’s offices in Frogmore Road on Monday August 4 at 12 midday.
One dedicated is dedicated to Captain Edward Bell MC, a former Pompey player who was killed on the Somme while serving with the 'Footballers battalion' (17th Middlesex battalion), and a main memorial stone will be dedicated to all those who served with the 14th & 15th Battalions Hampshire Regiment.
The memorials are made of slate by Dennis Johns from Stonerite Memorials who donated his time and skill free of charge.
The unveiling will be made by Dame Mary Fagan Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire with Portsmouth Lord Mayor Cllr Steven Wylie, Penny Mordaunt MP and club Chairman Iain McInnes all in attendance.
Alongside the memorials will be two information boards, one has a timeline of the Pals’ battalion from the outbreak of World War One right through to the unveiling of the war memorial next to the Guildhall. The other tells the stories of various members of the battalions and of Portsmouth FC during that period.
Members of the truebluearmy.com forum, along with companies and individuals, donated money to the Pompey Pals' Project which made this permanent memorial at the club possible.
The battalions were raised on September 3 1914 by the Portsmouth & Gosport patriotic recruiting committee. Three Portsmouth battalions were raised, the 14th & 15th who served in France & Flanders and the 16th which was a reserve battalion.
A pals' battalion is defined as being raised within a community by local committee there were in the region of 144 pals' battalions across the country.
The Portsmouth battalions like many of the pals' battalions first 'went over the top' during the battle of the Somme resulting in horrific casualties.
Bob Beech, the driving force behind the project, who helped set up the Pompey Pals’ charity said: “The Pompey Pals project is proud to be working in partnership with Portsmouth Community Football Club to commemorate those from our region who served during the Great War. We are particularly indebted to Dennis Johns & his company Stonerite Memorials for their hard work and dedication in producing two wonderful memorial stones.”