Isle of Dogs remembers war dead: Memorial plaque unveiled at Island Gardens

By Rob Virtue on August 26, 2014 11:10 AM |

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The men of the Isle of Dogs who gave their lives in the two world wars were remembered at a poignant unveiling of a plaque last week.

Organised by Friends of Island Gardens and funded by Canary Wharf Group, the memorial has been put in place to mark the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.

More than 100 people gathered to Island Gardens for last Thursday's event, which saw CWG's chief executive George Iacobescu attend, alongside residents and members of the police and fire brigade.

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Rita Bensley, of the Association of Island Communities was chosen to unveil the plaque. She said: "It's wonderful at long last there will be a memorial to those men and boys that have given their lives in the wars.

"Like other families on the Island, I lost family. During the First World War my father's youngest brother was only 17 when he died.

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"He shouldn't have been there but he wasn't alone - many others were that age and the way they suffered was horrendous. We must never forget them."

Mr Iacobescu said: "Millions lost their lives protecting our right to freedom, especially many from the East End. It's a right we are born with but have to fight to protect."

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Part of the park was under threat from development last year but was protected by residents of the area. This saw the Friends of Island Gardens set up to safeguard the land.

Its members decided to use the Park Yard for a memorial.

Frank Thienel of Friends of Island Gardens said: "Tower Hamlets Clean & Green Team have already made some improvements, and it is our intention that this spot be an area for people to come for quiet and peaceful reflection.

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"With the very kind generosity of Canary Wharf Group, we have made, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World, this Memorial Plaque in commemoration of Islanders who gave their lives in two world wars to ensure our freedom."

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