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Light Brigade hero Thomas Warr's memorial in Fordington
A ONCE-forgotten Dorchester war hero will never lie unnoticed again.
The man who discovered the story of Crimean War Trooper Thomas Warr put a cross at the veteran’s grave to mark 159 years since the Charge of the Light Brigade.
Warr was one of the ‘noble 600’ who faced almost certain death when the order came to charge the Russian guns at Balaclava in 1854.
He was born in Dorchester in 1830 and despite the battle he had survived, died penniless in a workhouse in the town at the age of 87.
Despite being one of the last survivors of the Crimean War, he lay in an unmarked pauper’s grave in St George’s church, Fordington, for years.
That was until former soldier and military historian Peter Metcalfe discovered his story.
And in 2006, Thomas Warr got the commemoration he deserved.
The service made national headlines at the time – but seven years on, Warr is still remembered.
To mark the anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade this year, Peter Metcalfe laid a cross at the trooper’s grave.
He said: “I am a member of the Crimean War Research Society and I went to the Crimea for the 150th anniversary.
“When I came back I was very interested and I did some research and found that about 400 yards from my house was a poor old trooper who had charged and was buried in a pauper’s grave with two other people on top of him.
“I spent a year or so researching and in 2006, on the 152nd anniversary, I organised a commemoration.”
A service was held at St Peter’s Church in High West Street before a smaller commemoration at St George’s.
There are two plaques in the church’s cemetery – one on the grave and one on the gate, which gives more detail about Warr’s life.
Mr Metcalfe added: “Tom Warr was forgotten for a long time, but he won’t be forgotten again.”
He is hoping that a bigger commemoration can be put together for next year’s 160th anniversary.
Next year is also the centenary of the start of World War One and a number of commemorative events will be taking place in the town.
* AT first it was thought that Thomas Warr didn’t have any relatives. But his wife, Amelia, was discovered in a pauper’s grave in Weymouth cemetery five years ago.
The couple married when Tom came back from the Crimea.
Amelia died in 1886 aged 55. A service was held at her grave in 2008.
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