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New virtual tour of war memorial

The Maritime Archaeology Trust is launching an online, interactive 3D model with virtual tour of Hollybrook War Memorial, Southampton, which tells the compelling but forgotten stories of the 1,930 men and women commemorated there. An accompanying booklet and video support the model.

Hidden away, inside the entrance to Hollybrook Cemetery, opposite Southampton General Hospital is a national First World War memorial few people know about.

The Hollybrook Memorial was built and unveiled by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 1930, and they continue to care for it today. It commemorates by name the members of the Commonwealth land and air forces who were lost or buried at sea or whose final resting place is unknown.

Many of the men and women listed on the 109 panels died when the hospital ships, troop ships or merchant ships they were sailing on were mined or torpedoed, mostly in home waters. Each of the 1,930 people and the twenty-eight ships and two airships named have fascinating and resonant stories to tell — forgotten stories of tragedy, heroism and sacrifice.

Among those profiled in the virtual tour, accompanying booklet and video are 596 men of the South African Native Labour Corps who died when SS Mendi sank in February 1917 in one of the most significant maritime disasters in South African history. Their names alone cover 16 panels.

Thirteen nursing staff, lost when the hospital ships they were serving on were torpedoed, are named here. The hospital ship Asturias had unloaded 900 wounded at Avonmouth and was sailing back to Southampton when it was torpedoed. 35 crew members died, the majority from Southampton.

Through the Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War’ project, the Maritime Archaeology Trust have researched 1,100 South Coast wrecks. More than 300 volunteers have helped with archive research, fieldwork, diving, creating resources and education and outreach over the last four years to uncover the often untold tales of these losses and the daily battles that took place off our shores.

The Hollybrook 3D model and virtual tour, along with the booklet, video and teachers notes, are all accessible through the Forgotten Wrecks project website:

Staff from the Trust will be at the Hollybrook Memorial on Saturday 15th September from 10.00am-12.00noon to give out copies of the free booklets and to assist with any queries.

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