Queen Street in Castletown is said to have lost more men in the First World War than any other road or street in Britain, and they included Henry John Taubman, who was killed on November 4, 1918, making him one of the last to die in the conflict before the cessation of hostilities on November 11.
This gives commemoration surrounding the centenary of the beginning of the conflict next year a special meaning in the town.
On Monday, commissioners’ clerk Eddie Convery outlined how the town plans to join in the centenary commemoration, in collaboration with the War Memorials Committee, the town’s branch of the Royal British Legion and Manx National Heritage.
Work will be done to repair and enhance the war memorial in the square, where a flagpole will be erected in the garden and subdued lighting installed. Wild poppies will be planted in and around the town, including perhaps the castle surround, and displays of themed flowers throughout the year.
The town’s four schools have been invited to join in the commemoration and asked to design an image representing war which will be displayed on the four welcome signs to the town, which will be redesigned with appropriate words of remembrance.
Throughout the year, there will be events and concerts and perhaps an exhibition of memorabilia (including photographs and medals, etc) on display in the Civic Centre.
Commissioner Peter Hill-Heaton said he has done some research into a roll of honour of those from Queen Street involved in the First World War. From the street 54 men served in the war of which eight were killed.
He discovered the date of Henry Taubman’s death, just a week before Armistice Day on November 11. ‘He must have been one of the last to be killed, I’m not a pacifist but it shows the futility of war, a young man in his prime.’
Henry Taubman’s great nephew Phil said he did not realise the date of his great uncle’s death until it was recently discovered by Mr Hill-Heaton. He said his uncle, also called John, was killed during the Second World War. He said: ‘All my life my family has put a poppy cross at the memorial (on Remembrance Sunday).’