A project to uncover all the war graves in the two Seagoe cemeteries - and tidy up and maintain them - was launched on Saturday.
The project is being undertaken by Regenerate, who are seeking the help of youth organisations, schools and other groups to ‘adopt a grave’.
Already, those involved in the project have uncovered a total of 35 graves in both the council and Church of Ireland cemeteries from both World Wars - many more than they first believed existed.
The aim of the project is to remember those who gave their lives for others by caring for and maintaining their graves.
Keith Thompson, chairman of Regenerate, said, “Our first efforts were directed at two overgrown graves with military interest from the 1890s. In the absence of any knowledge about the families, we tended the graves and made them presentable.
“In the weeks that followed we sought to engage the help of others and found, to our astonishment, that there were an additional 16 graves from World Wars 1 and 2. We researched these and, with the help of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, we have now uncovered another 19 graves.
“We are now researching 35 war graves in both cemeteries and do not yet know if there are families still in existence to visit and care for these graves, some of which are in need of attention.”
The project aims to document the service of these men and strive to ensure their efforts have not been in vain.
Any group adopting a grave is asked to visit it on a regular basis and tend it by planting flowers, cutting grass, weeding or placing floral tributes not just on Remembrance Sunday or on important anniversaries but all year round.
Regenerate points out that the headstones are the responsibility of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission – and they will clean or repair them.
Added Keith, “As we researched each person through books or the internet we began to build a picture of that person, for example when they were born, the members of their family and sadly when they died. Each one has a story to tell and often these tales are not told, or are forgotten with the passage of time.”