THEY served in the war that sees its centenary commemoration this year, and now the fallen soldiers are set to be remembered for many more to come.
As part of Winchester’s To Honour a Promise project, a memorial plaque and two information boards have been officially opened, to teach future generations about the history of the First World War.
The plaque, on Quarry Road, remembers the headquarters of the cycling unit, which was disbanded in the 1920s.
It was unveiled by Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire Dame Mary Fagan yesterday, along with Mayor and Mayoress Cllr Ernie Jeffs and Barbara Jeffs, and the project’s director David Harrison.
The group then travelled to the Morn Hill Butterfly Reserve where two information boards were opened.
They include pictures of how the site would have looked during the Great War, when two million men made their way through the camp before heading to frontline duties – it is said to have been the largest in the UK.
A bugler sounded The Last Post followed by a minutes silence and prayers.
The plaque and information boards are the first phase of the project, which aims to erect a permanent memorial of the British and American forces that travelled through the Winchester Morn Hill camps.
Mr Harrison said it is important to teach people of the city’s heritage, which is especially appropriate in its centenary year.
He said: “I think it is important that future generations understand the freedom that they enjoy is down to people that were prepared to die for it. One of the most pleasing things is the involvement of the youth – they have been really involved.
“We have been working towards these events for several years and it is very exciting to see our project coming to life.” Children from All Saints C of E Primary School have also taken part, making crocheted poppies at the Winchester Discovery Centre earlier this year.
They gathered around the boards for the ribbon cutting – one by Dame Mary, the other by local historian Tony Dowland, who researched the cycling unit and proposed the plaque and boards be installed.
On June 23 the permanent memorial will be unveiled at Castle Yard, and an exhibition launched at the Great Hall.