WW1 Commemoration

East Anglia RFCA maintains a collection of poignant articles commemorating 100 years since World War One (WW1).

WW1 A Soldier’s Tale
The First World War, told through social media as if it were today. Visit ww1soldierstale.co.uk

Everyone Remembered WW1 commermorationEveryone Remembered

The Royal British Legion, in partnership with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, has developed Every One Remembered. 

The project aims to individually commemorate over 1 million Commonwealth Service men and women who were killed during the First World.

‘Lives of the First World War’ Project is in its final year

Imperial War Museums are asking people to help build digital ‘life stories’ of those who served in WW1, by adding images, sharing stories, finding records and adding known facts to a digital memorial called ‘Lives of the First World War‘. 

More than 7.6 million men and women from across Britain and the Commonwealth contributed to the First World War. People can contribute to the site until 18th March 2019, to help ensure that they are not forgotten and that their stories are properly told and saved for future generations.


Bury St Edmunds lines up Armistice 100 events

On Sunday 4 November 2018, St Edmundsbury Cathedral presents Crimson Glory, the story of a young Suffolk soldier in the Great War, told through music, drama, dance, art and video.  The production involves 350 performers, including a massed children’s choir from schools in the Bury Schools Partnership. Tickets are on sale now. 

The town has also organised a walking trail featuring 18 pieces of artwork by local artists in prime town centre sites. The stories behind the pieces tell of the grim reality of war and of life in England during WWI and serve both to engage and educate as well as take visitors around historic Bury St Edmunds. Finding all the pieces of art will enable people to enter a draw to win a variety of vouchers to be spent in Bury St Edmunds town centre.  Trail leaflets are available at all the Visitor Information Points in the town centre from July. For more information on the trail, the pieces and artists visit the Bury St Edmunds WWI Trail website.


Capel St Mary unveils new war memorial for Armistice 100

Gary Bunkell Capel St Mary Memorial stoneRFCA Member Gary Bunkell is Group Captain in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, and Chair of Capel St Mary War Memorial Trust.

He and a committee of stalwart local people have raised funds to erect a war memorial in their village of Capel St Mary, one of the few British villages to not have a war memorial already.

Carefully dropped into place this summer, the memorial site will now be landscaped and an official dedication ceremony will take place on Armistice Day.

The village lost 33 men in the two world wars and you can find out more and donate at www.capelmemorial.org.uk.

King’s Lynn Military Museum Special Open Day Event10.09.2018

King’s Lynn Bridge for Heroes Special Open Day Event

Bridge for Heroes is hosting a special family-friendly open day on 23rd October with hands-on activities bringing to life the WW1 experience, including dressing up and tasting what people might have had to eat during the war. 

Bridge for Heroes exhibits are hands on and there are many historic artefacts to explore. 


Bridge for Heroes is a charity that offers support for veterans and their families in King’s Lynn, to help them with readjustment into civilian life, as well as the early identification of post-traumatic stress disorder.


Tragic Tale of Headmaster Who Lost 100 Boys to the Battlefields, Is Revealed

George Howson was the most idealistic of headmasters. When he took the helm at Gresham’s School in Norfolk, he wanted to reinvent the standards of education at the famous boarding school; he overhauled the buildings, and had ambitions to make it one of the country’s elite.

o-GRESHAM-570He took great pride in the boys he sent out into the world, many to Oxford or Cambridge, believing they had had the best chance to become the finest, most accomplished adults.

Except many of them never made it to adulthood.

More than 100 boys that Howson mentored as headmaster died in the First World War, many just months after leaving school. After the armistice in 1918, Howson died, just a few weeks after peace came. Obituaries called him the last casualty of the war, broken by so much sorrow.

The story of George Howson is one of 1,400 tales from across Britain that will make up the BBC’s project, World War One At Home. The project, launched for the centenary year, tells individual tales of the international conflict, in partnership with Imperial War Museum.

Sue Smart, a governor of Gresham’s and the author of “When Heroes Die” about the school during the war, told HuffPost UK that Howson felt all his hopes and ideals, everything he had devoted himself to, was mowed down on the battlefields of France, by events beyond his control.

“It shattered him, he was unmarried, many of the boys whose parents lived abroad saw him more than their own fathers. People at the time described him as being utterly distraught, having died of a broken heart,” she said.

An officer training corps opened at the school

An officer training corps opened at the school

The Times called him “a notable headmaster”, saying that: “Under him the school made rapid progress, especially in science teaching”, continuing “He has been called away, as he would have wished, while in the faithful discharge of his duty. His death has left a gap which it will be well-nigh impossible to fill.”

The stories of the boys will also feature in the programme. Smart recalled one story that particularly struck her during her research, of brothers Mark and Cuthbert Hill.

“Mark was captain of the rugby team and had left school to study at Cambridge. He was a particularly promising student, set on a career in the church. Cuthbert was the joker of the family, a real light-hearted boy, and when war was declared he went straight to the navy, aged just 18. He had been serving just three or four days when his ship went down. I found that particularly profound, that he was so young, that he had had no opportunity to do anything at all.

“Mark, who was the elder, had left Cambridge to join the army. And he wrote an extraordinary letter home to his mother, about the loss of his brother, the pain he felt, and because he was such an intelligent boy, he writes absolutely beautifully. and six weeks later he was killed in France. His mother lost her two boys in just six weeks.”


Tuddenham St Mary Unveils War Memorial To Village’s 80 Veterans

A village near Mildenhall is celebrating after unveiling a war memorial to its men who served in World War One – just inside its centenary year.

Tuddenham St Mary Unveils War Memorial To Village’s 80 VeteransOf the 300 residents in Tuddenham St Mary in 1914 a staggering 80 men enlisted to fight in the war, 11 of whom lost their lives on the European battlegrounds.

Until now the village has had no memorial to them, but a group of residents rallied support in the village and managed to raise the £2,500 needed for a permanent monument.

Susan Cook, who led the memorial project, said: “All the publicity about the First World War made us realise we did not have a memorial to our men, just a framed roll of honour in the church which is starting to fade.

I’m in my seventies now. Once my generation has gone, there will be not be anyone in the village who knew these men. That is what spurred me on, to do this while there are still people in the village who knew them.”

The money for the memorial, made by Hanchets Memorial Masons in Bury, was raised following a plea for donations by Susan and a group of local history enthusiasts.

Tuddenham St Mary Unveils War Memorial To Village’s 80 VeteransShe and eight others researched the men who went to war and produced a book, Our Village in the First World War, a copy of which was given to every house in Tuddenham.

After its publication in August, Susan and her research partners asked the village for donations towards a permanent memorial to the soldiers.

“We had about 120 people in the church that afternoon and managed to collect £660,” said Susan. “We didn’t go in for a large memorial because we didn’t know how much money we could raise, but we spent about £2,500 in the end. We raised all the money from donations in about three months.”

On Tuesday the memorial on the village green was unveiled by 71-year-old Barry Seamark, the grandson of one of the men it commemorates. A young bugler from the Boys Brigade played The Last Post at the service, and representatives for the Royal British Legion also attended.

Among the names on the memorial are two sons from the Lyes family who both lost their lives, and five sons from the same family who all went to fight.

None of the men who died were returned to Tuddenham, with one buried in Turkey after losing his life at Gallipoli, seven resting in France and Belgium, and three with no known graves.

Susan said: “I do feel that it is a worthy cause, that we have carried out something that will be there forever to remember them by. I think it needed to be there, for the families of those young men who sadly never came back to the village as well as those who did.”


Little Dunham Unveils First World War Base Memorial

Air force chiefs joined residents and community leaders in January 2015 to unveil a new memorial to the men who flew from their village during the First World War.

Little Dunham Unveils First World War Base MemorialThe site at Little Dunham was used by the Royal Flying Corps from 1916 until November 1918 as a satellite station to RAF Marham.

The base’s current commander, Group Captain Harvey Smyth, unveiled the commemorative stone at a ceremony on Thursday.

A Tornado from the base flew over the site and the memorial was dedicated in a service led by Father Martin Joyce.

The memorial has been built after the history of the site, which was commonly known locally as the flying field, was uncovered by military historian, and retired Marham squadron leader, Richard James.

He said he first learned of the site’s past in a conversation with the curator of the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum, Hoby Fairhead.

And he added: “We are delighted to be able to commemorate our forefathers of the Royal Flying Corps, the Royal Naval Aviation Service and the Royal Air Force who flew from our village 100 years ago.

Little Dunham Unveils First World War Base MemorialIt’s a celebration of the fact there was a base here.”

The first record of planes flying from the base dates back to September 1916, a few months after Marham itself was opened.

But Mr James said there was a direct link between it and the infamous Zepplin attack on Lynn in January 1915.

He explained that the former air base at Narborough was opened only a few weeks after the Zepplins attacked London in May 1915, four months after the Lynn attack. The Marham and Little Dunham bases then opened the following year.

He added that the base, which was known as the Sporle landing ground, would not have had the kind of facilities one might expect to see today.

He said: “It would just have been a couple of huts and paraffin heaters and some lights for the landing strip and that would have been about it.”

Little Dunham Unveils First World War Base MemorialParish councillor Ian Harding paid tribute to Mr James, whom he described as the “driving force” behind the six-month project.

The memorial, which was funded through donations and a grant from Breckland District Council, now stands on land which had been the subject of a long-running fight to prevent the building of an electrical substation, which villagers won earlier this year.

And Mr Harding added: “It’s got the village to get together.”



Herts at War Project Begins Free Lecture Series on WW1

How do you comprehend a conflict that killed thousands within our county alone?

For the Herts at War project, which aims to spread awareness of Hertfordshire’s involvement in the First World War, the best way is to tell the stories of the individuals who were lost.

“We are just trying to support the message of remembrance,” says Dan Hill, a project officer with Herts at War. “For me, the centenary really is about that and in particular the individuals. The Great War is a huge topic and difficult to understand from a big picture perspective so I want to bring back the stories of the individuals involved.”

As part of its work, Herts at War will host a series of lectures throughout 2015, exploring the conflict from a variety of angles.

Mr Hill said: “The idea is we are putting together a series of lectures drawing on historians, authors and guides to help tell the story of WW1. It could be from a Hertfordshire angle or marking the centenary of something that happened on the day of the talk.”

The series began on January 8th with a talk from battlefield guide Clive Harris, who was raised in Hertfordshire and will deliver a lecture called The Greater Game – Sportsmen in the Great War.

Mr Hill said: “The whole idea is sports is something anyone can relate to so it’s taking people away from the area in which they were known and putting them into this all-consuming conflict.”

Speakers in coming months will cover topics including Herts Police during wartime, the economic war and Gallipoli 1915.

“As a non-profit organisation, this for us is fantastic,” said Mr Hill.

“Now that we have been fortunate enough to develop a certain presence, we can offer free talks with great stories and well-respected names.”

All talks are free. Reservations can be made in Letchworth at Herts at War exhibition in The Arcade, David’s Bookshop in Eastcheap and the tourist information centre in Station Road.

Reservations can also be made online here. A limited number of places will be available at the door for those unable to book.

To find out more about the upcoming lectures, visit www.hertsatwar.co.uk/talks or email info@hertsatwar.co.uk



Woodbridge School pupils engage in friendly rivalry for First World War truce match reenactment

Pupils at a Suffolk school took to the field to recreate a fabled wartime gesture of temporary ceasefire.

Woodbridge School pupils engage in friendly rivalry for First World War truce match reenactmentWoodbridge School marked the centenary of the Christmas football match that took place on the battlefield between German and Allied troops during the First World War.

Four teams comprising members of the combined cadet force from years 11-13 lined up against each other before a round of 10 minute matches between teams from years nine and 10.

Before kick-off there was a short lecture on the Christmas truce, with all officers and cadets joining in a chorus of Silent Night.

Woodbridge School pupils engage in friendly rivalry for First World War truce match reenactmentDuring the afternoon, mince pies were sold to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

The event was one of several staged across the county to commemorate the moment British and German soldiers stopped fighting and played football on Christmas Day 1914.

The brief armistice saw soldiers along the Western Front meet in No Man’s Land to spend Christmas together.



Hedingham pupils commemorate centenary of First World War

Pupils have commemorated the centenary of the First World War in an eye-catching way.

Hedingham pupils commemorate centenary of First World WarIn July, each form group at Hedingham School was given the opportunity to plant a packet of seeds in the school bus park and at the front entrance to have them flower in time for Remembrance Day.

This was part of the Centenary Poppy Campaign organised by the British Legion.

Students also learnt about the role of the poppy, how it became a national symbol of remembrance and how their money donated helps to continue to fund the British Legion’s work for the Armed Forces and their families.



22 (Sandy) Squadron Air Cadets Remembrance Sunday

On Sunday 9th November, Cadets and Staff from 22 (Sandy) Squadron took part in the annual Remembrance Parade and service held in Sandy.

Sandy Air Cadets - Remembrance SundayWith the parade forming up at Swan Lane in Sandy, the Cadet and Staff marched off with the parade to the War Memorial for a service of Remembrance.

At the Sandy War Memorial, Cadet Corporal Ian Mansion, 15, laid a wreath on behalf of the Squadron cadets and staff, and Cadet Corporal Peter Hessey, 15, was the Squadron banner bearer during the parade. After the silence and the wreaths had been laid, the parade continued to the church for the service of remembrance. After the church service, the march past was taken by local dignitaries.

Sandy Air Cadets - Remembrance SundayCadet Corporal Peter Hessey commented, “Very proud to have carried the Squadron banner on parade today. It’s very important to remember those who gave their lives on our behalf”.

Flying Officer Brian Storey RAFVR(T) said, “A fantastic effort by all the cadets on parade. They’ve all put a lot of effort preparing for the parade to pay respect to those who lost their lives for their country”.

During the weekend, the cadets were also out on the Saturday, collecting for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal at both Tesco and Budgens in Sandy.

If you would like information on how to join as a Cadet, a member of Staff or Civilian Committee member please call 01767 691681, email info@sandy-aircadets.org.uk or visit their website. 



Wisbech Army Cadet’s Journey to Find WW1 Grave

Corporal Georgina Foxcroft from Wisbech Detachment, Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force stirred by the 100 year Commemoration of WW1 made a journey to Belgium, along with her parents, to find the grave of her great, great, great Uncle who was killed in action in 1917.

Wisbech Army Cadet’s Journey to Find WW1 GraveAfter initial research using the internet and some family history the resting place of Private Ernst Foxcroft, 1st/6th Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool Regiment) was located at Viamertinghe New Military Cemetery (1802 graves), 3 miles from Ieper.

No 241605 Private Ernest Foxcroft was killed on 28th June 1917, age 32 years. His headstone bears the Kings Liverpool Regiment cap badge, his rank, name and date of death.

Wisbech Army Cadet’s Journey to Find WW1 GraveCpl Foxcroft said “Standing next to my great, great, great Uncle’s grave was very moving for me and my family. Looking down at the grave I placed a poppy cross and gave him a salute. It’s a moment in my life I shall never forget.”

They continued their journey and visited Essex Farm Cemetery (where Lieut Col. John McCrea wrote the poem in “Flanders Fields”), Langemark Cemetery and Tyne Cote Cemetery. Langemark is the resting place for 44,000 German soldiers and the site of the first gas attacks of WW1. It’s a cemetery totally different layout and structure to that of Tyne Cote and a contrast you have to really experience.

Wisbech Army Cadet’s Journey to Find WW1 GraveA trip to Leper (Ypres) to watch the Menin Gate Service held each might at 8 o’clock since 1920 was both impressive and very emotional. The crowd was large with over a 1000 tightly squeezed around the Memorial to the 55,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers killed in the Ypres Salient Battle.

“Returning home to Wisbech to take part in the Town Remembrance Parade was a fitting end to my journey. My experience and memory of Belgium never to be forgotten.”



Hertfordshire WW1 Soldier honoured with Victoria Cross commemoration

A soldier whose extreme bravery saw him awarded two Victoria Crosses has been honoured with a VC commemorative paving stone in the parish where he was born.

Hertfordshire WW1 Soldier honoured with Victoria Cross commemorationLt Col Arthur Martin-Leake is one of only three soldiers to be honoured twice. Born in 1874 in High Cross, near Ware, Hertfordshire, he was educated at Westminster School before going onto study medicine at University College Hospital. He worked at the Hemel Hempstead District Hospital prior to joining the Imperial Yeomanry in 1899 and went on to serve in the Boer War.

He was awarded his first Victoria Cross in 1902 when he risked his life at Vlakfontein to treat a wounded man whilst coming under heavy gunfire. He then moved to treat an injured Officer and was shot three times.

Hertfordshire WW1 Soldier honoured with Victoria Cross commemorationWhile recovering from his injuries he studied for and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. He then took the post as Chief Medical Officer in Calcutta, employed by the Bengal-Nagput Railway Company to care for its employers.

At the outbreak of the Great War Lt Col Martin-Leake, then aged 40, became concerned he would be considered too old to volunteer for military service so he left for France and enlisted into the Royal Army Medical Corps.

He was attached to the 5th Field Ambulance Royal Army Medical Corps and was awarded a Bar to his Victoria Cross for “most conscious bravery and devotion to duty,” during the First Battle of Ypres, especially during the period 29 Oct to 3 Nov 1914 near Zonnebeke, Belgium. Exposed to constant gunfire he rescued a large number of wounded who were lying close to the enemy trenches.

His Commanding Officer wrote: “By his devotion many lives have been saved that would have otherwise undoubtedly have been lost. His behaviour on three occasions when the dressing station was heavily shelled was such as to inspire confidence both with the wounded and the staff. It is not possible to quote any one specific act performed because his gallant conduct was continual.”

Hertfordshire WW1 Soldier honoured with Victoria Cross commemorationHe returned to India after the war, but eventually retired and returned to Marshalls, High Cross, in 1937. He served in the Home Guard during the Second World War. He died in 1953 aged 79.

Thundridge Parish Council held a ceremony to commemorate his actions, laying the stone at the entrance gate to St John the Evangelist Church, High Cross. Attending the ceremony were current serving members of 254 Medical Regiment, Haileybury Combined Cadet Force and the Commander of 49 (East) Brigade, Brigadier Harry Nickerson.

Hertfordshire WW1 Soldier honoured with Victoria Cross commemorationThe ceremony saw school children from Puller Memorial School read out letters sent to soldiers and sailors from children attending the school during World War One. After words of remembrance and prayers a bugler played the Last Post. The paving stone was unveiled by Mrs Helen Martin-Leake and Lucas Hyde.

Cadets from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Army Cadet Force assisted in car parking duties and were part of the marching contingent.



Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum – Air Exhibits

There are a large number of exhibits relating to the First World War on permanent display at the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum.

Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum – Air ExhibitsArtefacts include uniforms, badges, equipment, medals, “death plaques”, model aircraft and aircraft components, photographs, 25 Squadron scoreboard, diaries, logbooks, photo-albums, shell trench art, an unusual German memorial door, and a German torpedo.

Location: Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum

Open: From November to March (Tues,Weds,Sun 1000hrs to 1600hrs) closed from 15th December to 15th January for Christmas.
Cost: Free

East Anglia’s Aviation Heritage Centre is located in Flixton, Suffolk. More information can be found about the event on the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum website.



Everybody’s Darling- The First World War Nurse Exhibition
04 Aug – 16 Nov 2014

In recognition of the 1st World War Commemorations starting in 2014, the Museum of East Anglian Life is pleased to announce plans to host the touring exhibition ‘Everybody’s Darling – the First World War Nurse’ in Abbot’s Hall.

Everybody's Darling- The First World War NurseDuring the First World War thousands of women served at home and overseas as nurses. This exhibition reveals the essential role that they fulfilled – a role which has often gone unrecognised.

Many women worked in one of the hundreds of military hospitals at home caring for the vast numbers of injured servicemen. Others worked on the Western and Eastern fronts, in casualty clearing stations and field hospitals close to the battle lines. They were closer to the front-line than in any previous conflict, working up to twenty hours a day often during heavy periods of fighting. Conditions were hazardous and gruelling and many nurses died on active service.

The exhibition will include many original artefacts including a poignant autograph book belonging to a nurse working at All Hallows Hospital, Ditchingham. Containing many messages of thanks and best wishes for the future, verses and poems and cartoons and drawings by wounded soldiers, it adds a very personal element to the exhibition.

In contrast to the realities on the battlefield, an idealised, romantic image of the nurse was frequently used for propaganda purposes during the war. The nurse tending an injured serviceman became an iconic image of the time and a range of such prints and illustrations complete the display.

Museum Curator, Lisa Harris says: “Being a rural life museum we are aware that the majority of our displays focus on the roles of men in the countryside. However, we hope that this exhibition will help draw out the hidden stories of the courageous, unsung heroines of the Great War both at home and overseas”.



Cambridge University WW1 boat race medal sells at auction

A university boat race winner’s medal awarded to the ill-fated Cambridge crew of 1914 has gone under the hammer at a Norfolk auction.

Cambridge University WW1 boat race medal sells at auction The silver medal, one of only nine ever made, sold in Aylsham for £460 to a private collector in Suffolk.

The race took place on 28 March 1914, the last due to the outbreak of World War One until 1920. Of the nine members of the winning Cambridge crew – all under 25 – four died during the conflict.

The Oxford stroke was also a casualty. Sarah Prior, from Keys Auctioneers, said the person awarded the medal remains a mystery, as it appeared in a much larger collection of rowing memorabilia.

She said: “The medal was one of nine given to the victorious Cambridge crew of 1914, but we are unsure who it belonged to and if they were one of the four that went to France during the Great War and didn’t come home, or one of those that survived.

“This is a very poignant item, something very special at a time when so many are commemorating the centenary of the Great War.”

The case of the two-inch (5cm) diameter medal included a hallmarked silver shield listing the names of the Cambridge crew.

Of the 18 men involved in the race, all but one served in the armed forces during the conflict, with the 18th becoming chaplain to the armed forces, the auction house said.

Cambridge won the 1914 race by four-and-a-half boat lengths, the 31st victory for the light blues.



Herbert Columbine WW1 statue unveiled in Walton-on-the-Naze

On 2nd August, a one-of-a-kind statue was unveiled paying tribute to private Columbine for his outstanding fighting contribution in the First World War.

Herbert Columbine WW1 statue unveiled in Walton-on-the-NazeHerbert George Columbine was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Private Columbine was 24 years old, and a private in the 9th Squadron, Machine Gun Corps, British Army during the First World War when on 22 March 1918 at Hervilly Wood, France, he took over command of a gun and kept firing it from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in an isolated position with no wire in front.

During this time wave after wave of the enemy failed to get up to him, but at last with the help of a low-flying aircraft the enemy managed to gain a strong foothold in the trench. As the position was now untenable, Private Columbine told the two remaining men to get away, and although he was being bombed on either side, he kept his gun firing, inflicting losses, until he was killed by a bomb which blew him up along with his gun. He was awarded a VC for this.

Herbert Columbine WW1 statue unveiled in Walton-on-the-NazeDesigned by international sculptor John Doubleday, the statue is a bronze figure of Herbert Columbine in uniform showcased in the hero’s home town of Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex.

Maldon District councillor Robert Long organised the unveiling ceremony at Walton-on-the-Naze on Saturday 2nd August, which was attended by dignitaries including Maldon town Mayor Stephen Nunn, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex and Field Marshal Lord Guthrie, who unveiled the statue.

Mr Doubleday, of Goat Lodge Road, Great Totham, said: “It’s the only statue of a specifically named priate soldier in the country and the idea was to commemorate the sacrifice of the priavte soldier who paid a terrible price.”

The Columbine Statue Fund, whose Patron is Dame Judi Dench, was set up to raise money for a statue to Herbert Columbine VC in Walton on the Naze.

An honour

Fundraisers want to raise cash for a special bench commemorating the man who spearheaded the campaign to create a spectacular soldier statue in Walton.

Herbert Columbine WW1 statue unveiled in Walton-on-the-NazeThree years ago Michael Turner started a campaign to have the statue of Walton war hero Private Herbert Columbine put up in the town. Mr Turner wanted to see a statue built to help people remember the soldier and inspire future generations.

For three years he worked tirelessly with a group of friends, united as the Columbine Statue Fund group. Led by Mr Turner, the group chased donations in a bid to reach the £50,000 target. The statue of Private Columbine has now been unveiled on Walton seafront thanks to his efforts.

But Mr Tuner died just months before it was completed, suffering a sudden heart attack aged 63 in November.

Now his fellow statue fund campaigners are raising money for a commemorative bench paying tribute to Michael. They want it to be placed in the seafront garden near the statue.

Anyone who wants to donate to the bench in Michael’s memory can email columbinefund@hotmail.co.uk



Hertfordshire School builds authentic WW1 trench to honour 589 pupils and staff who died in WW1

Haileybury School has commemorated the sacrifices made by previous pupils in the First World War by building a replica trench in its grounds.

Hertfordshire School builds authentic WW1 trench to honour 589 pupils and staff who died in WW1Andrew Robertshaw, a historian and military adviser on the Spielberg epic War Horse, has designed the full-sized trench section for the Haileybury school in Hertford Heath, Hertfordshire, aided by history enthusiast and author Ryan Gearing.

The trench is a poignant tribute to boys at the school, who took part in trench digging as part of its curriculum in 1914 and 1915, and lost 589 pupils and staff to the 1914-1918 conflict.

Hertfordshire School builds authentic WW1 trench to honour 589 pupils and staff who died in WW1Pupils and other visitors will see first-hand what life was like on the front line and in a trench as part of the ‘Haileybury trench trail’ around the private school’s campus.

It features duckboards (a platform made of wooden slats built over muddy ground to form a dry passageway), a firestep (allowing soldiers in the trench to see and fire over the side into No Man’s Land), replica Enfield rifles and a first aid post.

The trail also includes material from the school’s archive, such as letters sent home by soldiers.

Hertfordshire School builds authentic WW1 trench to honour 589 pupils and staff who died in WW1It was unveiled by Rt Hon Mark Francois MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, who addressed combined cadet force pupils at the official opening.

Joe Davies, headmaster of Haileybury said: ‘The trench trail is a symbol of remembrance of the immense sacrifices made by our pupils at the time.’

A thousand children from local schools will visit from September to December.



Arlesey Remembers You

A local community project has recently launched to commemorate the 87 servicemen from a Bedfordshire village who died in the First World War.

Arlesey Remembers YouLocal residents of the village of Arlesey in Bedfordshire are invited to individually remember the 87 names on the war memorial, on Arlesey High Street, by placing a bespoke cross with the words ‘Arlesey Remembers You’, the soldier’s name, age and date of death on each of the graves.

Duncan Wang, Arlesey resident for over 30 years and town councilor, came up with the whole idea and with a long-standing interest in the First and Second World Wars, thoroughly researched all of the names on the war memorial to find the location of their graves. The graves span six countries and two continents 32 in France, 21 in Belgium, 14 in England and five in Israel.

Arlesey Remembers YouDuncan soon welcomed other members to the project including Jodie Chillery, a professional freelance television producer who was keen to transfer her charity film making experience into the project.

Jodie Chillery said: “Duncan’s idea of community volunteers laying a poppy cross on the grave of every serviceman listed on our war memorial was so simple yet so personal and poignant. I felt it would be a great opportunity to help the community learn a bit more about where it came from.”

School children from the community are getting involved with the project as each bespoke cross is hand made by Year Four pupils at Gothic Mede Academy, and Etonbury Academy and Arlesey Youth club Juniors are writing biographies of each of the soldiers.

The project officially launched on Sunday 27th April 2014 at a special ceremony after the Annual Civic Service at St. Peters Church. The first 11 crosses were laid by children from village community groups including Guides, Scouts and pupils at Gothic Mede Academy. Attended by over 300 people, the launch was a positive movement for the project and a success for the team behind it.

Local Filmmaker Jodie Chillery and Cllr Duncan Wang

Local Filmmaker Jodie Chillery and Cllr Duncan Wang

“The reaction from the community has been astounding. It’s an ideal tribute to those who lost their lives because it’s personal.

It’s no coincidence the project is called Arlesey Remembers You and not Arlesey Remembers. We wanted people from the village to not just place crosses at random and respectfully observe a roll call but actually get to know some of the names on the war memorial, understand what life was like, who the people were and where they travelled to during the war. They weren’t so different from us even though it happened 100 years ago,” Jodie said.

As much as half of the crosses have already been laid with volunteers attached to most of the remaining ones. Villagers have travelled as far afield as Israel to pay their respects, and the British embassy in Baghdad has agreed do the honours and lay a cross for one grave in Iraq.

Arlesey Remembers YouThe Arlesey Remembers You project will continue its World War One centenary tribute over the next four years. The project has inspired local artist and director of Dekkle Printmaking Studios, David Borrington, to produce a further 87 customized, limited edition etchings and prints based on the fallen soldiers listed on the war memorial in Arlesey. David plans to release each piece of art at the time of each soldier’s date of death for the next four years.

Speaking about the future of the project, Jodie said: “I would hope that we’ve inspired the community and that projects like this can be successful. I’m sure you will see more from Arlesey and hopefully this is the first of many commemorative projects.”

On Sunday 9th November 2014 the project will conclude with the final crosses, who’s graves are unknown, being laid at the War Memorial in Arlesey by children from the village.

Arlesey Remembers YouAfter raising over £2000 for the creation of a documentary on Arlesey Remembers You, Jodie Chillery’s film will track down the surviving relatives of the servicemen and through interviews with participants and relatives of the project the story of some of the men will unfold. At the end of November there will be a screening event to show the documentary film to the local community.

Get in touch…
To get involved in the project or for more information visit the Arlesey Remembers You website or contact:

Duncan Wang dwang@woodace.co.uk
Jodie Chillery jodie.gravett@btinternet.com



Bedfordshire Service of Commemoration of WW1 and D-Day

HM Lord-Lieutenant Helen Nellis held the annual Service of Thanksgiving for Voluntary Organisations in Bedfordshire recently and remembered the WW1 Centenary with a Service of Commemoration of WW1 and DDay.

Bedfordshire Service of Commemoration of WW1 and D-DayHeld at St Mary’s Parish Church in Woburn on Sunday 11th May, the service invited local organisations to take part in remembering those that have lost their lives in the First and Second World War.

Amongst those who have attended was Fusion Youth Singing, Vauxhall Male Voice Choir and Normany Veteran Major Ron Rogers who read ‘Normandy’ by Juno Veteran ‘Cyril Crain’.

Bedfordshire Service of Commemoration of WW1 and D-DayA pupil from local school, Bedford Girls’ School gave a special reading of a poem written for the Royal British Legion variety show, Flitwick Branch, which was held last year and added something different to the proceedings.

The order of service for the day included an opening Hymn, the national anthem and a WW1 prayer from The Rt Rev’d Richard Atkinson OBE Bishop of Bedford as well as a blessing from The Rt Rev’d Dr Alan Smith Bishop of St Albans.

Bedfordshire Service of Commemoration of WW1 and D-DayHM Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadets were on guard for the service, these included;

Police Cadet Elisabeth Ackah from Bedfordshire Police Cadets, Cadet Staff Sergeant Rebecca Brighton from Army Cadet Force (5 Company Beds and Herts), Leading Cadet Jarvis Brooks-Lampard from Dunstable Sea Cadet Unit, The Sea Cadet Corps, Cadet Warrant Officer Timothy Funnell from 2462 (Oakley) Squadron, Air Training Corps and Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant (Warrant Officer Second Class) Emily Moule from Bedford School Combined Cadet Force.

To view the programme and order of service click here.

Photos Gallery from the service.

Remember the Fallen WW1

Sgt Thomas William Page.

Remember the Fallen WW1 Sgt Thomas William PageBorn about 1871, Chelmsford, Essex, son of William Thomas and Kate Page.

Husband of Naomi Rosetta Page, 47 Victoria Road, Brentwood.

Previously served 24 years with the Essex Regt, re-enlisted 1914.

Served in South African War 1899 – 1902.
Age: 50 Date of Death: 14/03/1921

For his dedication and service Sgt Thomas received medals including; Queen’s and King’s Medals for South Africa, King George V Coronation 1911, Long Service and Good Conduct medal.

Buried in Great Warley Christ Church Cemetery (Lorne Road) Essex.



Sea Of Poppies Planted In Tower Of London Moat To Honour The Fallen

The Tower of London’s moat turns red with a sea of ceramic poppies to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One.

Sea Of Poppies Planted In Tower Of London Moat To Honour The FallenThe art installation, called ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, features 888,246 ceramic poppies – one for every British and Commonwealth soldier who died during the conflict.

The poppies have been laid throughout the summer by creator Paul Cummins and a team of volunteers. Today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge each planted a ceramic poppy and were met by General The Lord Dannatt, Constable of the Tower of London and former Chief of the General Staff.

Sea Of Poppies Planted In Tower Of London Moat To Honour The FallenThe last flower will be planted on November 11, marking the date that World War One hostilities ended in 1918.

The poppies are being sold by an independent organisation but members of the public can register through the Historic Royal Palaces website.

The poppies will cost £25 plus postage and packaging with the proceeds going to six service charities, including the Royal British Legion. It is expected that the display should earn raise millions for the charities involved.

Between August 5 and November 11, 180 names of servicemen killed during World War One will be read out at twilight before a lone bugler plays the Last Post.

Sea Of Poppies Planted In Tower Of London Moat To Honour The FallenRelatives can nominate their ancestor on Twitter by contacting the Historic Royal Palaces and they can discuss the commemoration on Twitter using the hashtag #TOWERPOPPIES. Names on the list are added on a first-come first-served basis.

Also, the Royal British Legion are sending out free poppy seeds to every school in the country to raise awareness of the centenary of the conflict’s outbreak.



Chelmsford Artist Commemorates WW1 With Museum Installation

Artist Nabil Ali will be staging an art installation from Tuesday 29 July until Monday 1 September 2014, entitled “Blood’ from the Poppy”. 

Chelmsford Artist Commemorates WW1 With Museum InstallationThe artist’s work will be exhibited at Chelmsford Museum and will show some of his latest work using organic matter grown in his artist garden.

The art installation commemorates people across the world that were affected by the destructive force of WW1. It shows one of the paintings made from Nabil’s Art Council’s project ‘Portrait of an Artist’s Garden’, depicting the poppy plant and accompanied by ink that has been made using poppies from old technology, but in a new way.

Cabinet Member for Parks & Heritage, Councillor Chambers says, “We are always pleased to be showcasing the talent of local artists. 

Chelmsford Artist Commemorates WW1 With Museum InstallationNabil’s ongoing research and work is very complex and involved and therefore I do encourage visitors to come along and see his unique work, especially as it commemorates the centenary of the First World War.”

Nabil has been researching the process of organic paint systems that have used the common poppy flower as one of the ingredients. This is an introduction to understanding the complex connection with plants in Art, and how intimately involved they are from a historical context.

The exhibition runs from Tuesday, July 29, until Monday, September 1.


Peace and War: Norfolk 1900-1914. An Illustrated Talk

Peace and War: Norfolk 1900-1914
6 – 7.30pm. Monday 4th August 2014
A free illustrated talk by historian Neil Storey
The Curve at the Forum

Peace and War: Norfolk 1900-1914. An Illustrated Talk Norfolk based social and military historian Neil Storey will be giving an illustrated talk about life in Norfolk in the years leading up to the First World War and then the first few months of the conflict when there was still hope it would all be over by Christmas.

After the talk which will last about an hour there will be time for questions from the audience.

Peace and War: Norfolk 1900-1914. An Illustrated TalkThis is a free event but space is limited in The Curve at The Forum so please do reserve your place by calling 01603 774707 and leaving a message or by emailing Sarah on sarah.salmon@norfolk.gov.uk. Tickets will also be available to collect from the Sound and Vision Desk at the Millennium Library from Wednesday 23rd July.

Neil Storey will also be in the Forum, Norwich as part of the daytime “August 4th: The Day We Went to War” event where he will be available to interpret family military photographs and memorabilia, something he has done at ‘Who do you think you are live’ at Olympia for the past four years.



Lights Out For War Centenary

Everyone in the country is invited to take part in Lights Out by turning off their lights for an hour on August 4, leaving on a single light or candle for a shared moment of reflection.

Lights Out For War CentenaryPeople can take part in whatever way they chose, marking the centenary of the outbreak of WW1 either individually or by attending one of the many events being organised around the country for a collective experience.

The project is being organised by 14-18 Now, the official cultural programme for the WW1 Centenary Commemorations.

The inspiration for Lights Out comes from a famous remark made on the eve of the outbreak of war by the then Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

Britain declared war on Germany at 11pm on August 4, 1914, ushering in one of the darkest periods in our history.

Lights Out For War CentenaryMillions of people are expected to participate in Lights Out and hundreds of local authorities, iconic buildings, national organisations including the BBC and the Royal British Legion, parish councils and places of worship have already pledged their support.

Iconic buildings and landmarks such as Blackpool Illuminations, the Houses of Parliament, Eden Project, the Imperial War Museums and Tower Bridge will turn off their lights.

Plus the Royal British Legion has launched a campaign for at least one million candles to be lit across the UK and theatre productions including those of the National Theatre’s War Horse, both nationally and internationally, will invite their audiences to take part in Lights Out after their curtain calls.

Four leading international artists have been commissioned by 14-18 Now to create striking public artworks in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, as Lights Out focal points for each of the UK’s four nations.

Lights Out complements the candlelit vigil service to be held in Westminster Abbey from 10pm to 11pm on Monday, August 4.

The 14-18 Now programme is funded by £10million granted from the National Lottery, including The Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England which are contributing £5million each.



WW1 nurse Edith Cavell to feature on new £5 coin

WW1 nurse Edith Cavell to feature on new £5 coin Edith Cavell, the British nurse from Norfolk executed by the Germans during World War One, is to be featured on a new commemorative £5 coin.

The coin will form part of a set to be issued next year by the Royal Mint marking the centenary of the war. Cavell worked as a nurse in German-occupied Belgium, helping save the lives of soldiers from both sides and she was shot by a German firing squad for helping Allied soldiers to escape across the border into the Netherlands.

Treasury minister Nicky Morgan said: “She showed true bravery by helping injured soldiers, regardless of their nationality, and it is right that she should be honoured as a British hero.

“She risked her life to help Allied forces escape and in doing so paid the ultimate price. It is important that we remember the sacrifices made by so many people in different ways during the war.”

The decision to feature her on the £5 coin follows a campaign for her to be featured on £2 coins.

Relatives of the nurse, a vicar’s daughter from Swardeston, near Norwich, delivered a petition bearing 110,000 signatures to the Treasury.

The campaign was launched after it was announced former war secretary Lord Kitchener would feature on a coin.

Campaigners said the coins should also celebrate those who advocated peace.

Last week Chancellor George Osborne agreed Cavell will be considered on a list of designs for a new £2 coin to be used in general circulation.

A £2 coin depicting Lord Kitchener has already been unveiled by the Royal Mint



51 (Orton) Squadron Cadets WW1 Dedication Service

Five cadets from 51 (Orton) Squadron FS Logan Robinett, Sgt Conor Wells, Sgt Patrick Wells, Cdt Adam Pieczonka and Cdt Lucy Williamson joined dignitaries at Nene Park Academy in a service of re-dedication of their WW1 plaque.

51 (Orton) Squadron Cadets WW1 Dedication ServiceDuring the past year and half, Nene Park Academy has gone through a rebuild process and now resides in their new premises. However they have not lost their history and the legacy of their past which is traced back to 1910 when it opened its doors and they still have a War Memorial plaque in the centre of the school to commemorate the lives of the Masters and Old Boys who lost their lives in the Great War.

With this being the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War, they felt it was a fitting time to hold a rededication service at the school to unveil a new plaque to commemorate those soldiers who lost their lives in battle and not only in the Great War but also in the many other conflicts during the last 100 years.

The newly dedicated plaque will sit alongside the Academy’s original War Memorial in the centre of the school, which was unveiled on 20 March 1920. The Original plaque carries a drawing from the late Art Master of the school Gilbert Darricotte who sadly was killed in action in 1918.

Based in the grounds of Nene Park Academy, 51 (Orton) cadets were invited to take part in this service, showing the dedication of so many young people who volunteer their time to support the community of Orton and the wider area of Peterborough.

Cadet Lucy Williamson also a student at Nene Park Academy said “I am so proud to represent both the Air Cadets and the School at such an important event.”

51 (Orton) Squadron Cadets WW1 Dedication ServiceThe attending five cadets were joined by the Peterborough British Legion and their Padre along with The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire Colonel Roger Herriot, the new Mayor of Peterborough Cllr David Over. The Banner bearers formed up at 2pm followed by a short march through the courtyard where the students of Nene Park Academy had gathered. Following the last post being play played and the standards being lowered for a 2 minute silence and of course the Reveille being played the new plaque was unveiled by the Lord Lieutenant.

Cadet Adam Pieczonka said “As always it is a complete honour to represent the ATC and our squadron. The service was lovely and it was great to be able to raise the awareness of the ATC in front of so many students. Maybe it will encourage them to join us at our weekly meetings”.

Dawn Hagerty of Nene Park Academy said “FS Logan Robinett and the other Cadets were such a credit to themselves and the ATC – the Squadron and the OC should be very proud of them.”

Get in touch… If you are interested in joining the Air Cadets, visit their website or visit Nene Park Academy, where they meet every Tuesday and Wednesday night between 7pm and 9.15pm.



The Royal Star and Garter Homes invites you to join a Battlefields Trek to commemorate the Centenary of WW1.

WWI Centenary Battlefields TrekThe Armed Forces were there when our nation needed them. Now we need to be there for our veterans.’

The WW1 Battlefields Trek will take place through the Ypres salient to support our veterans from 17th to 21st September 2014 to commemorate the Centenary of the start of the First World War.

The Royal Star and Garter Homes is a charity founded in 1916 to care for the severely injured young men returning from the battlegrounds of WW1. Today we provide brilliant care to the whole military family in our friendly, modern and comfortable homes. Disabled ex-Service men and women, and their partners, can all benefit from our pioneering approach to nursing and therapeutic care.

The three-day sponsored trek takes place in September 2014, walking through Northern France and Belgium. It is a physical challenge and also provides participants with a unique perspective of prominent battle-sites of the Ypres Salient, often tracing the line of the Western Front itself.

The historian and broadcaster, Dan Snow, is endorsing the Trek and commented:

“What a fitting way to commemorate the outbreak of WW1 by visiting Ypres and other key areas in Northern France and Belgium for The Royal Star & Garter Homes.

WWI Centenary Battlefields TrekThe Charity provides brilliant care for disabled ex-Service men and women, and their partners. Over the years, it has looked after veterans of both the First and Second World Wars so it’s an appropriate way to remember those who gave up so much while raising money for a very good cause.”

When the charity was first established, back then the average age of residents was 22, today it is 87. Although the care needs have changed, the Charity’s mission remains to provide brilliant nursing and therapeutic care for the whole military family, in comfortable, state-of-the-art homes.

The Trek participants will be supporting The Royal Star & Garter Homes in its mission to continue caring for those who bravely served, in their own time of need.

How to take part… For more information call the events team on 020 8439 8118 or e-mail: events@starandgarter.org or register online at www.starandgarter.org



Cardington Airship Sheds

The Cardington Airship Sheds based in Bedfordshire can be seen dominating the skyline for many miles around but there is a deeper history behind them.

Cardington Airship ShedsShorts Brothers Engineering company won the contract for the construction of the airship in 1916 and the main person responsible for the construction was Claude Lipscomb, a 29 year old who had joined the company at the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 as he was attracted by the prospect of technological advancement in the new aviation world.

In September 1914, there were attacks by Zeppelin Raiders and the threat of the new Super Zeppelins so it was agreed the company would develop their own ships. Cardington was chosen with its gentle prevailing wind and site of farmland south-west of Bedford.

As one of the biggest sheds built in Britain at that time, it provided a minimum of space for two ships under one cantilever roof. The first ship to come out of the Cardington airship facility was the R31. The ship was commissioned only 5 days before the Armistice on 11th November 1918.

The shed was an impressive construction and design project, admirable today as it was hand designed and built.

Cardington Airship Sheds

Shed 1 completed in 1916; shed 2 added in 1925

With the threat of war looming at the end of the 1930’s Cardington was back in business with the development and creation off thousands of kite balloons. Every balloon had to be large enough to carry a couple of miles of steel cable and required a trained crew who could monitor the balloon 24 hours a day. Also required for each was a winch and motor transport.

Preparation for meeting this demand started in November 1936 when the station became known as Royal Airforce Station Cardington. At its peak Cardington was producing some 26 balloons a week. Simultaneously the station was a training centre and by 1943 some 10,000 balloon operators and a further 12,000 driver/operators had been trained.

Cardington became one of the World’s best airship facilities. Due to the economic depression of the post war years, the Airship station was closed in 1921 after the construction of the R38 and the scrapping of the R37. However the station was reopened in 1924 following the announcement of the Imperial Airship Service and the undertaking of the construction of, amongst others, the R101. For communications, a wireless station and Cardington control tower was constructed in 1928 behind the Administration block.

Cardington Airship ShedsToday the Cardington site is still there. With the exception of the windbreaks and the addition of many more houses in Shortstown and the impressive second shed from Pulham, the whole site is complete as it was constructed and planned back in 1916. It is also intended that airship activity will return one day.

Did you know…
(1914) Claude Lipscomb joined the company at the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 and was the main person responsible for construction of the airships.
(1917) Site bought by Admiralty for development of airships. Original Shed No 1 constructed 
(1918) R31 Airship constructed

Both the RMS Mauritania and the RMS Lusitania could comfortably fit in each shed with the doors closed and the RMS Titanic would have almost fitted with only 40ft of her bow sticking out of the open doors.

For more information
– To see a historic video of the Cardington Airship Sheds from 1926 visit the British Pathe Website.
– For more information visit the Cardington Airship Sheds website.
– Local squadron 134 (Bedford) Squadron also have more historic facts on their website.



Town and gown combine to visit Cambridgeshire’s war memorials to mark centenary of WW1

Young and old unite to visit as many of Cambridgeshire’s war memorials as possible in First World War commemoration.

First World War commemoration Cambridge University Officers’ Training Corps (OTC), university graduates, members of the Royal Anglian Regiment, Cambridge and Coleridge Athletic Club, community leaders and cadet forces from across Cambridgeshire came together to mark the occasion on Saturday 8th March.

Lieutenant Colonel G A Macintosh OBE, commanding officer of the OTC, said: “I said before the event that it would be great if, in a small way, we were able to shine a spotlight on local individuals who died in the Great War; creating links that connect the past and present, young and old, county and university. I feel we certainly achieved that, everything went brilliantly.”

Cambridgeshires War Memorials Mark Centenary WW1Teams of intrepid runners, cyclists and rowers, made up of members from each group, completed a mission to visit as many of Cambridgeshire’s war memorials as they could in one morning, stopping for photographs at each one and raising awareness about the centenary.

They managed to visit 61 memorials in total and many schools had placed special cards on the monuments which pupils had made paying tribute to a serving soldier from their area.

The memorials in Clare, Downing, Pembroke, Peterhouse, Westminster, King’s, St Catharine’s, Corpus Christi, Gonville and Caius, Sidney Sussex, Christ’s, Jesus and Magdalene colleges were also open to the public.

Captain V H Lucas RN DL, Chairman of Cambridgeshire Reserve Forces and Cadets Association said: “It was an innovative and extremely well organised event. A large number of different elements of the military and civilian community within the County were brought together in this meaningful commemoration of the outbreak of WW1.”

Many of the college memorials commemorate the loss of more than 100 fallen men with Pembroke’s memorial representing the sacrifices of 319 people. The event culminated in a service at the war memorial in Hills Road, Cambridge, at 1.30pm.

Cambridgeshires War Memorials Mark Centenary WW1Among the attendees at the service in Cambridge was Councillor George Pippas, the city’s deputy mayor. He said: “We gave thanks for all the people who sacrificed their lives so we could be here today.It was an extremely emotional and very fitting service to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

For more information about CUOTC get in touch:
Cambridge UOTC
Army Reserve Centre
Coldham’s Lane Cambridge                
Telephone: 01223 247818
Email: CambridgeOTC-Adj@mod.uk 


The 2nd Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment and the first day of the Battle of the Somme

On 1st July 1916 the 2nd Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment, which was attached to the 25th Brigade, was assigned to take part in an attack on the German trenches near Ovillers-la-Boiselle. At Zero Hour (7.30am) the Lincolns mounted the parapet and advanced across No Man’s Land in good order. Despite suffering heavy casualties from machine-gun and rifle fire, they managed to penetrate the German wire and entered the enemy’s frontline trenches. Here they met fierce resistance from the hundreds of German soldiers who were emerging from their deep dug-outs.

In the heavy fighting that ensued, the 2nd Lincolns managed to seize around 200 yards of the frontline German trenches. The few uninjured officers now led what remained of the battalion towards the German support line, but they were beaten back by a storm of machine gun and rifle fire. The 2nd Lincolns then tried to consolidate their precarious position in the enemy’s frontline trenches and they successfully repulsed a German counter-attack.

However, the Lincolns were still faced with intense fire from the German second line, heavy machine-gun fire on their left flank and continual grenade attacks. It soon became evident that unless some support arrived quickly, the Lincolns would be forced to abandon their position. In an effort to obtain reinforcements Lieutenant-Colonel Reginald Bastard crossed No Man’s Land under heavy fire on four occasions, but by 9am the position was untenable and the Lincolns were forced to fall back to their own frontline.

Lieutenant-Colonel Bastard attempted to get the assault restarted and rallied the remnants of the 2nd Lincolns and other units, including the 1st Royal Irish Rifles. The men pressed forward into a hail of enemy fire, but at 10am Bastard reported that with only thirty men in a fit condition to fight any further progress was impossible.

The 2nd Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment was finally stood down from the frontline at midnight, their positions being taken over by the 6th Battalion of the West Kent Regiment. The 2nd Lincolns had suffered a 64% loss rate on 1st July 1916, with 21 officers and 450 other ranks being listed as killed, missing or wounded.


WW1 Captain Spencer Henry Jeudwine

UntitledSpencer Henry Jeudwine was born in Harlaxton in 1895, the son of the Reverend George Wynne Jeudwine (1849-1933). George Wynne Jeudwine was Rector of Harlaxton and later became Archdeacon of Stow and a Canon of Lincoln Cathedral.

Spencer attended Brighton College from 1906 to 1909. He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment in 1915 and served on the Western Front. He was wounded at the Battle of Aubers Ridge in May 1915 and at La Boiselle in May of the following year.

He was killed in action in the attack on Ovillers-la-Boiselle on 1st July 1916, aged 20. He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the monument to the missing at Thiepval.



WW1 Captain Jack Denning and the attack on Gueudecourt

(25th September 1916)


On 20th September 1916 Major H M C Orr, who was in temporary command of the 1st Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment, received orders to launch an attack in the vicinity of Gueudecourt as part of the continuing offensive on the Somme. The 1st Battalion was attached to the 64th Brigade and this unit was given three objectives: firstly to capture portions of the Gird Trench and Gird Support Trench south of Gueudecourt, secondly to secure a track running south-east of the village and thirdly to capture a portion of the road to the east of Gueudecourt. The 10th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and the 1st East Yorkshires were to carry out the attack on the first position and then the 1st Lincolns were to capture the second objective. Finally, the two Yorkshire battalions would pass through the position secured by the Lincolns and capture the third objective.

Among the officers of the 1st Lincolns who would take part in the attack was Captain Jack Denning, who would be commanding C Company. The day before the attack, which was scheduled for 25th September, Jack Denning wrote to his parents:

“This may be my last letter to you as we are for it tomorrow. I sincerely hope it will be successful. At all events I am determined to go and win as I know you would have me do… But you may rest assured that should I get pipped [killed] I shall have done my duty…”

Zero Hour was set for 12.35pm and two minutes before going-over-the-top bayonets were fixed, with each man carrying an extra bandolier of ammunition and a Mills Bomb (in addition to the grenades carried by the unit’s designated “bombers”). As the hands of their watches touched the appointed minute, Jack Denning and Captain J Edes, commanding C and A companies respectively, sprang over the parapet and advanced in quick time followed by their men.

Both companies had advanced about fifty yards when they came under withering artillery and machine-gun fire. In spite of heavy casualties, the men pressed on until the brigade frontline trench was reached. However, instead of finding the position empty, the Lincolns dropped down into a trench that was occupied by men from the two Yorkshire regiments. They had launched their attack on the first objective, but had been driven back after discovering that the thick entanglements of barbed wire in front of the Gird Trench were largely uncut.

The assault had stalled and the surviving men of C Company had to be hastily reorganised in the crowded frontline trench. Their commanding officer was no longer able to issue orders, as Jack Denning had received severe shrapnel wounds in his stomach. It was three hours before he was picked up by the battalion’s stretcher bearers and carried to a regimental aid post. He was given emergency medical attention, but it would be another six hours before he was transferred to the 36th Casualty Clearing Station. By this time there was little that the doctors could do for him and, after a night of drifting in and out of consciousness, he died the following day. On 28th September a telegram arrived at his parents’ home and sixty years later Jack’s younger brother, Tom, recalled that his mother opened it with trembling fingers:

“‘Deeply regret to inform you that Captain J E N P Denning Lincolnshire Regt died of wounds Sept 26.’ Mother swooned to the floor. I can see it now. Father stooped and took her in his arms. Tears in his eyes.”

Jack Denning’s personal effects, including his blood-stained tunic, were sent home in October. He was buried in Heilly Station Cemetery; he was 23 years of age. After the war, when the temporary wooden cross that marked his grave was replaced with a headstone, the Denning family added an inscription based on a quote from Jack’s last letter: “You may rest assured that I shall have done my duty.”

Jack’s brother, Tom, later joined the 151st Field Company of the Royal Artillery and was sent to France in April 1918, aged 19. He survived the war and later trained to be a barrister, rising to the position of Master of the Rolls. In 1957 he was made Baron Denning and six years later he produced a 70,000 word report on the Profumo Affair which made him a national figure. He died on 5th March 1999, aged 100.


Summary of casualties for the 25th and 26th September 1916 from the war diary of the 1st Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment.