Service at new memorial to honour fallen war heroes

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A CEREMONY to bless a new memorial stone dedicated to fallen war heroes held extra poignancy for one Royal British Legion member.

Graham Benyon-Fisher, chairman of the legion’s Wakefield branch, was one of the first to lay a wreath at the new memorial after a service in Wakefield city centre yesterday morning.

His son, Corporal Jonathan Benyon-Fisher, 33, was killed in an accident while climbing in the Lake District with his army unit in July 2009 and after the tragedy Mr Benyon-Fisher, 62, of Durkar, urged Wakefield Council chiefs – who were planning a new memorial – to create one to honour all members of the forces who had lost their lives while serving since 1945.

And yesterday he was delighted to see the request finally granted as the memorial stone was blessed at a service in Coronation Gardens, opposite County Hall.

Mr Benyon-Fisher, who served in the Welsh Guards and Royal Logistics from 1968 to 1973, said: “The council have done a good job.

“There has been nothing in Wakefield up until now to commemorate all fallen soldiers since 1945, apart from the local parishes.”

He added: “I just kept nagging them until it was done.”

Jonathan Benyon-Fisher, who was a climbing instructor, was serving with the 39 Regiment Royal Artillery when he died. The accident happened just two weeks before he was due to be posted to Afghanistan.

His father said: “If there was a dangerous job to do, Jonathan was there. He was a daredevil.”

The memorial stone bears an inscription which reads: “In memory of the sacrifice made by men and women of this district who have died in conflicts around the would since 1945. Their names are inscribed on the roll of honour.”

Yesterday’s ceremony of dedication was led by Canon Michael Rawson of Wakefield Cathedral.

Coun Denise Jeffery, deputy leader of Wakefield Council, was among civic dignitaries who laid wreaths at the new memorial.

Coun Jeffery said: “I am very proud that we are remembering fallen war heroes. I hope this area will act as a place where people can remember their loved ones and the service they did for their country.”