All memorials tell stories of personal sacrifice but, among them, some stand out for the scale of the loss they describe.
In Manor Park Cemetery, East London, there lies a memorial tablet to 25 civilians who died as a result of enemy action in the city during the Second World War.
On this tablet six individuals share the same surname: James Siggins (age 40); Leslie Siggins (age 11); Peter Siggins (age 6); Betty Siggins (age 3); James William Siggins (16 months); and Stanley Siggins (age 7 weeks).
If we look for them on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour Register we discover that they were one family, a father and his five children, who were all killed on 16 February 1945, at the same address in Crownfield Road.
Their mother Sarah Siggins survived although whether she was in the same house at the time of the incident or elsewhere, we don’t know. It is also uncertain whether there were any other surviving children.
Here is a story of almost unimaginable loss. A mother who, in one day, lost her husband and five children, the youngest just 7 weeks old. But the existence of this memorial at least means that this family’s remarkable sacrifice has been recorded.