A memorial is to be erected in honour of six men killed while disarming German bombs in a field near Nantwich.

The men, from the Royal Engineers, had safely disarmed three of the bombs found close to Alvaston Hall, Nantwich.

But the fourth and final one exploded, killing all six in August 1940.

Now Cheshire East Council plans a memorial for the men to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Royal Engineers in 2012.

Those who died in the line of duty were Sgt Edward Greengrass, Sapper Harold Thompson, Sapper Michael Lambert, Sapper Albert Edward Fearon, Sapper George Lucas and Sapper John Percival.

The council has accepted a motion from councillors Dorothy Flude and Chris Thorley to erect a small memorial near to Alvaston Hall.

Cllr Wesley Fitzgerald, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “These six men sacrificed their lives to protect the local population.

“The fact their bravery wasn’t recognised at the time makes this new memorial all the more important.”

Cllr Flude, ward member for Crewe South, said: “This was such a tragedy but the incident was not reported in the press at the time and their names are not recorded locally.

“These six men did not have such a luxury of training and knowledge and found themselves making the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. It is only right they are remembered.”

According to the War Graves Commission, Thompson, Lambert, Fearon and Lucas were killed instantly and Sgt Greengrass died two days later in hospital. There is no official record of a Sapper John Percival.

Desmond Curtis, chairman of the Crewe branch of the Royal Engineers Association, said: “The work of many bomb disposal units from the Second World War has gone unnoticed so memorials such as this are very special.”

Cheshire East Council is tryng to contact families of the men, who could help provide memoirs to create a lasting tribute.

An unveiling ceremony, involving families, the Royal Engineers Association, and army and council representatives is being planned.

Anyone with information regarding these men can contact the council on 01270 686012.

(pic shows Royal Engineers bomb unit, courtesy “Crewe and Nantwich at War” by Mark Potts and Tony Marks)

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