Mansfield war hero is given official recognition at last

Former Mansfield soldier Albert Henry Ward.
Former Mansfield soldier Albert Henry Ward.

A long campaign to gain official recognition for the military service, and personal sacrifices, of a former Mansfield soldier has finally been won.

For a stone, commemorating veteran Albert Henry Ward, who fought throughout the Second World War, is to be unveiled at a special ceremony at the Mansfield Heroes Memorial at Carr Bank Park on Saturday, July 22 (11 am).

Because Albert died after the war, in November 1948, aged 37, he does not appear on any roll of honour for military personnel. But the cause of his death, pulmonary tubercolosis, was directly attributable to his active duty as he contracted the disease while serving.

Therefore, his grand-daughter, Karen Dowsing, has been trying for many years to get recognition for Albert and asked if his name could be added to those of other servicemen already on the memorial. Now she is delighted, and will be at the ceremony to lay wreaths, along with Albert’s sisters. Other war veterans and members of the public are invited to attend.

“It’s been a long road, but this makes it all worthwhile,” Karen said. “I am so proud of him, and I find this all really touching.”

Albert, who lived in Mansfield Woodhouse, first joined the Army for three years at the age of 18. As soon as war broke out ten years later, he signed up again and saw active service in France, where he was rescued from Dunkirk, north Africa, where he was wounded, Italy, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Greece and Austria before being diagnosed with TB in May 1945 and transferred to a hospital in the UK.