Family battles for ‘correction’ on village war memorial

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A RETIRED doctor is fighting to have her great uncle’s name spelled correctly on a village memorial nearly a century after he was killed in France at the age of 20 during the First World War.

Alison Corfield says the mis-spelling of Private George Samuel’s name as “Samuels” on the memorial at Shepreth, Cambridgeshire, caused “great distress” to his parents after the 1914-18 conflict ended.

She says authorities refused to correct the mistake after the memorial was erected and Private Samuel’s family had tried to hide the extra “s” by covering it with mud.

Mrs Corfield, 67, of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, hopes that the “wrong can be righted” as Britain prepares to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of hostilities.

She has written to local councillors in Shepreth asking for the spelling to be changed. Shepreth Parish Council says it is “actively pursuing” the issue and will have discussions at a meeting later this month.

And a county councillor who represents Shepreth says there could not be a more “fitting time” to change the spelling.

“The inscription of ‘Samuels’ on the war memorial is incorrect with the extra ‘s’,” said Mrs Corfield,

“This caused the family a lot of distress after the war and the authorities refused to alter it. The family tried to cover the extra ‘s’ with mud.”

She added: “I’d like to get the wrong righted. It would mean be a lot to me and my family and I think it would appropriate as the centenary approaches. I doubt it can be too difficult to hide or erase the extra letter.

“We are not talking about one letter or a spelling mistake. We are talking about a young soldier who died in the First World War. Someone’s son.

“His name was George Samuel not George Samuels. I think it matters that George Samuel’s sacrifice is remembered. And I think the mistake should be put right.”

Mrs Corfield said Private Samuel was a soldier in the London Regiment. She thinks that he fought in the Battle of the Somme, which began in July 1916.