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Soldiers who died in Cane Hill asylum to be honoured in First World War centenary celebrations

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SHELL-SHOCKED soldiers who died in Cane Hill asylum are to be honoured in First World War centenary celebrations at an Addington church. Michael Lyons, of the New Addington Royal British Legion, is organising a big commemorative event for September 10 and has made the forgotten soldiers of psychiatric hospital Cane Hill, in Coulsdon, the focus of the event. The Final Roll Call, which will take place at St Mary's Church in Addington, will be the culmination of a campaign by Mr Lyons to have the soldiers recognised. There were at least 40 soldiers, many of whom were disowned by their families after returning from war, who were admitted to Cane Hill asylum during the First World War, and at least 26 were buried in its grounds in unmarked graves. The Debt Of Honour, a tribute to the men who died during or as a result of the First World War, now contains the names of these men. But Mr Lyons, a former member of the East Surrey Regiment, would like to see a permanent Croydon memorial for the tragic heroes in the cemetery at the Mitcham Road barracks. He said: "They were never recognised and we should remember them all. They came home with shell-shock after the war and no one knew how to deal with it at the time. "In those days it changed your personality and they became aggressive and weren't able to control themselves. "Lots of families disowned these soldiers and everyone would say 'oh, Jimmy's a nutter' and that would be that." Mr Lyons said although the world will always remember the First World War heroes, it was important to do this now because "we are coming to the end of an era". Shell-shock is now considered to be a form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Lady Emma Kitchener-Fellowes, niece of the third Earl Kitchener, a former lady-in-waiting to Princess Michael of Kent and wife of Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, is set to attend The Final Roll Call event at St Mary's. Poppy crosses will be laid at the graves of the three known First World War dead at St Mary's Church but Mr Lyons is sure there must be more. He is seeking help and information from families who have relatives buried in the graveyard and is also to speak to the Addington Palace golf club to see if it has records of people who died there when it was used as a hospital during the war.

Soldiers who died in Cane Hill asylum to be honoured in First World War centenary celebrations


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