Help needed in search for soldier's tree

MEMBERS of the Royal British Legion are trying to track down a tree planted to mark the murder of a young Ipswich soldier in Northern Ireland.Private Gary Barnes was killed by the IRA in the Warrenpoint massacre in August 1979.

MEMBERS of the Royal British Legion are trying to track down a tree planted to mark the murder of a young Ipswich soldier in Northern Ireland.

Private Gary Barnes was killed by the IRA in the Warrenpoint massacre in August 1979.

He was given a full military funeral at Ipswich cemetery, and later a tree was planted in his memory near the cenotaph in Christchurch Park.

However the tree was not marked because it was feared at the time a plaque could make it a target for pro-IRA protesters.

There was no record kept at Civic Centre of which tree was planted in Pte Barnes' memory either - no detailed records were kept until the aftermath of the great storm in 1987.

Memories of Pte Barnes' death were stirred after the Royal British Legion announced it hoped to record the names of all those from Ipswich who had died in conflicts after 1945 on a new plaque on the cenotaph.

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Only two people were immediately known about - Pte Barnes and Pte Roy Macdonald who died in the Korean War in the early 1950s.

The Royal British Legion has asked for anyone who knows of any other victims from the town - inside the borough boundaries - to contact them so they could be added to the memorial.

And an Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said officials would like to be able to identify the tree.

He said: “There is no one left working there who remembers the tree being planted - they were very different times and there was no plaque installed for a very good reason.

“But we hope there might be someone out there who does remember which tree it was and then we could give it the recognition it deserves.”

If you know where the tree is - or know of anyone else who should be included on the memorial, please call the Evening Star newsdesk on 01473-324788. We will pass the information on to the council and the RBL.

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