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Under-threat war graves are sacred

A wind farm being erected on land where war heroes are buried would be an ‘insult to the memory’ of a Uttoxeter woman’s veteran father.

The Advertiser has previously reported that developer Innovent wants to build 10 turbines, each the size of Big Ben, on the French fields where the Battle of Loos was fought in 1915.

Fifteen soldiers from Uttoxeter died in the World War One battle and many still lie where they fell.

Private Samuel Foster, born and bred in town, survived the conflict aged just 16 – despite having part of his shoulder blown off.

His daughter, Margaret Mackay, who lives in Stafford Road, told the Advertiser her dad was ‘haunted’ by the death of his commanding officer, Captain Oswald Bamford.

She said: “He didn’t talk about it much but he told us that battle was hell and had a massive impact on the way those brave men who survived lived out the rest of their lives.

“Many turned to drink to bury the memories.

“My dad used to tell me everyone in the regiment loved Captain Bamford.

“The captain fell from his horse just yards away from my father but his injury was such that he couldn’t move or operate his rifle.

“He was heartbroken because he couldn’t move to get up and help his beloved captain.

“That really haunted him for the rest of his days.”

Private Foster was discharged after his injury, which afflicated him until he died on 1968.

He spent most of his professional life as a painter and decorator, performing the job with just his ‘good arm’.

Mrs Mackay said: “We have a very military-orientated family.

“I have five brothers who were in the armed forces and my late husband, William, was in the army in the 1950s.

“I’ve never forgotten what my father told me about the war, even though he didn’t talk about it too much.

“I often go to Captain Bamford’s memorial at the Stafford Road Cemetery to pay my respects.

“I feel very strongly about this and think turbines would be an insult to the memory of those who fought there. It’s sacred ground and should be left alone.”

The Uttoxeter soldiers who died at Loos were in the 137th Staffordshire Brigade.

The petition is available online at www.mesopinions.com/petition/nature-environment/projet-centrale-eolienne-entreauchy-mines.