SUNDERLAND AFC has unveiled a new memorial to commemorate its players who were killed in action during the First and Second World Wars.
The memorial, which is located outside the Stadium of Light’s West Stand, honours the seven former Black Cats killed in the First World War – Alexander Barrie, James Chalmers, Jack Huggins, Sandy McAllister, Albert Milton, Leigh Richmond Roose and Thomas Rowlandson – along with Percy Saunders, who was killed in action during the Second World War.
Timed to coincide with the 100- year anniversary of the start of The Great War, the memorial was unveiled in a special dedication ceremony prior to Saturday’s 1-1 draw with West Ham United.
Two former military chaplains, Father Michael Weymes and Reverend Paul Kennedy, joined club chaplain, Father Marc Lynden-Smith, along with Colour Sergeant Chris Hunter of the Coldstream Guards and the Sunderland board of directors, to formally dedicate the monument.
A Salvation Army bugler performed a rendition of the Last Post as part of the service.
Sunderland AFC chairman Ellis Short said: “Through the creation of this monument we pay tribute not only to our former players who lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars, but to all the brave men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country.
“It also provides a place where we can remember all the members of the Sunderland family who are no longer with us.”
The monument sits within a specially-created seated area, alongside the existing Fans Statue, which is dedicated to Sunderland fans past, present and future.
As well paying tribute to those players lost in the wars, the area can also be used by fans as a spot to remember their lost loved ones.