Award made to Isle historian

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The painstaking work of historian and author Robert Fish of Epworth over three years, in memory of Isle soldiers who lost their lives in wartime, has been recognised with an award.

The Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology has honoured Mr Fish with the Flora Murray Award for Excellence, which recognises the endeavours and achievements of local groups, societies and individuals.

A spokesman for the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology said: “The award for excellence is made to Robert Fish for his recently published series of books registering the impact of war, expecially the First World War, on the Isle of Axholme.

“His general account of Axholme’s Great War describes in detail how life in the north-east corner of Lincolnshire was affected by wartime, and how both young and old, men and women, responded in a critical time.

“Four other books, one for each of the communities of Epworth, Haxey, Amcotts and Wroot, entitled The Toll of War, give excellent detail of the men who gave their lives in both world wars. These publications were supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.”

Mr Fish said: “For all the work on World War One I gave myself the four years of the centenary. It ends on November 11, 2018 with a memorial book for Crowle.

“There were hours of research cross checking, using ancestry websites, commonwealth war graves etc. but it is important to recognise the sacrifice that was made.

“This is the right time to remember, but most of all it is about the personal stories of courage, endurance, fortitude and sheer grit to get the job done.

“What these men did is beyond our comprehension but they were just ordinary men doing their best.”

In 2014, a special service of dedication took place at St Andrew’s Parish Church in Epworth, for Mr Fish’s book charting the family, life death and resting place of each of 53 soldiers from Epworth who died as a result of the great War.

Records of seven men who died in World War Two were included. The hand-sewn leather book is displayed in a specially crafted case within the chancel.

It was produced by Blissetts of London, bookbinders to the Queen (by Royal Warrant).

The Rev Ian Walker said at the time: “Epworth owes a debt of thanks to Mr Bob Fish.”