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Dedication ceremony for Coombe Hill monument plaque
Coombe Hill Monument Appeal
The new plaque contains the names of 159 soldiers

A new bronze plaque honouring the men of Buckinghamshire who died in the South African Boer War has been placed on Coombe Hill's War Memorial.

The monument sits 64ft tall on the Chiltern Hills's highest spot.

It has been restored by Buckinghamshire County Council at a cost of £55,000.

The Bishop of Buckingham, the Rt Rev Alan Wilson, led the service to dedicate the plaque during the public ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.

Anonymity

Coombe Hill Monument Appeal
Alan Perry laid a wreath of South African flowers

The new plaque, weighing a third of a tonne, brings to an end 106 years of anonymity for two soldiers whose names were inadvertently omitted from the original 1904 memorial.

Sergeant F Priest and Private A Huckins take their place, along with several spelling corrections, following many months of research by local military historians. This brings the total number of names to 159.

During August and September craftsmen have been at work on the monument replacing lime mortar to make joints watertight, realigning granite stones at the base of the structure, and replacing old concrete repairs with granite sourced from Scotland.

Restoration

Gilders have braved high winds atop the monument to apply fresh gold leaf to the finial, and the county crest and bronze flags above the plaque have been restored.

"It has been a monumental challenge for the restoration team," said project leader Mark Bailey. "They've worked in all kinds of weather, have done a masterful job, and the monument now is as near as it's ever been to the original in 1904."

Martin Tett, Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment, said: "In this iconic Buckinghamshire landmark we now have a fine legacy for future generations, which honours a courageous generation who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country."

Wreath

A wreath of South African flowers was laid at the monument by Alan Perry, from Aylesbury, whose great grandfather was Private Frank Nash, one of the soldiers honoured on the plaque.

A 29-piece military band accompanied O God Our Help in Ages Past, the same hymn sung at the monument's original dedication in 1904, and a bugler played the Last Post and the Reveille.




SEE ALSO
In pictures: Coombe Hill Monument
21 Oct 10 |  History
Boer War memorial
26 Aug 10 |  Beds Herts Bucks


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