Call for Family Members of Portsmouth’s WWI & WWII Soldiers to Come Forward and Join Commemoration

Family members of The Southern Co-operative’s colleagues who fought in the First and Second World War are being encouraged to come forward to be part of a war memorial unveiling and commemoration on 10th September.

The Southern Co-operative, known as the Portsea Island Mutual Co-operative (PIMCO) until 1998, working in partnership with the Pompey Pals charity, will be unveiling a war memorial at the Portsmouth Guildhall Cenotaph as part of a commemoration service to remember fallen PIMCO colleagues. These colleagues, part of the Pompey Pals Battalion, have origins stretching across Hampshire and Sussex.

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Gareth Lewis, Loss Prevention & Security Services Manager for The Southern Co-operative who has been personally working on this project for many years, said: “The Southern Co-operative’s roots lie in the heart of Portsmouth, opening our first food store in the city just 45 years before the First World War began. Across the First and Second World War, 65 of our colleagues tragically lost their lives, with many more out there fighting for our futures. The sacrifices these men and women made should not be forgotten and we are proud and honoured to be able to dedicate this war memorial to their memories.”

The Southern Co-operative would like to hear from any family members of PIMCO colleagues who fought in the war and be part of the ceremony where the war memorial plaque is unveiled. The memorial will be situated alongside the Portsmouth Guildhall Cenotaph on a wall at the back of The Southern Co-operative’s food store.

The commemoration ceremony will be held to mark the 100th anniversary of the Portsmouth Battalion going ‘over the top’ at the Battle of the Somme during WWI. The plaque itself will feature the names of the 13 and 52 PIMCO colleagues who died in the First and Second World War respectively.

Collectively, The Southern Co-operative and Pompey Pals will work together to research and provide family members with as much information as possible about their relative and their involvement in the war.

The Pompey Pals charity aims to commemorate all the men and women from the Portsmouth region who served in any capacity during the Great War, whether at home or overseas. Their work is supported by Portsmouth Football Club and through the sale of their range of Pompey Pals Ales.

Earlier this year in April, The Southern Co-operative’s stores across Portsmouth sold the Jutland Ale and Pompey Pals Ale with all proceeds going to Pompey Pals. In total, the sales raised enough money to cover the cost of the commemoration ceremony.

The commemoration event will feature music by the Hampshire Constabulary Band and take place on 10th September as part of WWI’s centenary, between 10am and 2pm at The Guildhall Square Cenotaph. The event is free to attend and open to all.

To register your interest for The Southern Co-operative and Pompey Pals to research your family member’s war history, please e-mail: chrispennycook@pompeypals.org.uk.

The Southern Co-operative are also hosting a trip for its Members to visit the Battle of the Somme’s key locations for a subsidised price. To find out more, please call: 023 92 222 686 or visit: http://www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk/membership/trips-events/.