On 11th November we passed the Remembrance Day marking 100 years since the end of World War I, the Great War. At Christ Church we particularly remember the ninety-five men who lost their lives in the 1914/18 War listed on the plaque at the front of church.
Visit to Somme, France
In September eight men, five from Christ Church, went to the area of the Somme in France for an interesting, informative and at times emotional visit. The Battle of the Somme started on 1st July 1916 and raged until 18th November. More than three million men fought in the battle and one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history. During the September visit our experienced guide took us to some key locations and we learned how the Battle of the Somme was fought in the traditional style of World War I: trench warfare.
There are many cemeteries in the area, large and small – although small there were over two hundred men buried at each location. All the cemeteries are very well maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
During the tour we visited several cemeteries, each grave representing one or more men who made the supreme sacrifice. Some graves that remain in the memory include a Regimental Sergeant Major aged nineteen, a brother of the former Master of the Rolls, Lord Denning and a son of H H Asquith, Prime Minister when war was declared in 1914.
Our guide gave us extracts from the letters of soldiers written home to wives or parents before they went into battle and sustained fatal injuries. We visited the grave or memorial of the particular soldier and read aloud the ‘letters home’ learning a little about the man, followed by the information of how he died in the heat of battle – often in heroic circumstances. An emotional experience for reader and listener alike!
Christ Church connection
Of particular interest to Christ Church, in the area of the Somme we found fifteen graves or memorials of men listed on the plaque at the front of our church. Below are listed the graves and memorials we found.
A poppy cross was left at each grave or memorial in memory of those men.
Bob said, ‘The number of men who lost their lives in the area of the Somme is staggering, many so very young!’
“At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them,”
“When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today.”
Christ Church members who went – Bob, Peter, Martin, Roger, Peter.
• WJ French
• Charles Cakebread
• TD Jarvis
(listed on the
• James Akers
• Charles Andrews
• Albert Clarke
• William Lawrence
• John Priestland
• Thomas Prior
• Ernest Skipp
• John Parnell
• Albert Smith
• Edward Clarke
• James Spencer
• Edward SwallowTags: Magazine, Remembrance