During the four years of fighting the whole world was drawn into the conflict, resulting in over 36 million casualties, 20 million of whom were wounded with the remaining 16 million paying the ultimate sacrifice. As early as February 1915 the Surrey Herald published a letter suggesting that Chertsey Urban District Council applied for one of the German guns, which would surely be distributed as a memento of the inevitable victory, as a tribute to honour the fallen. Private individuals paid for small memorials to be installed in their local churches in honour of family members whose lives had been cut short, as barely a family in the Borough went
untouched by grief.
By February 1916 the death toll had been such that there was a universal desire to record the names of those who gave their lives for King and Country in an official capacity. The Government decided to compile an official Roll of Honour as a ‘permanent record of the names of every officer, non-commissioned officer and man of His Majesty’s Forces on land or sea who is killed in action, who dies of wounds, or whose death is otherwise caused in this present war’. The person chosen to undertake such an enormous feat was the Marquis de Ruvigney, resident of London Street, Chertsey. Families across the country were asked to nominate their loved ones for the Roll, a sentiment echoed in every village, town and city across the land as each community wished to honour their war dead at home.
Each of the Borough towns and villages has a war memorial, with many more on church walls, in schools and in council offices. A list of names, each one representing a real person, with family and friends. Gone but not forgotten.