Stone of Remembrance - Ovillers Cemetery, in the heart of the Somme battlefield
1st July 2016
Our Remembrance On The Somme
By 7.20am we were out of the car and standing atop of a small incline – which looked down on the small French
village and the 'killing fields" where exactly 100 years before- tens of thousands of young men waited for their officers shrill whistles to signal 'zero hour' and that they were "going over the top". Too many of those who climbed out of the trenches on that warm summers morning were lost in just a few moments - Brimington men amongst them.
At precisely 7.28am we blew our whistles in a symbolic gesture of remembrance and recalled the young men of Brimington who were lost, wounded and maimed during the 141 days of that terrible battle.
Private Albert Cherry (Station Road) was killed on the 14th July and where Private Ernie Jervis (Victoria Street) had his leg blown off and died shortly afterwards on the 19th July.
A short distance further on we looked towards the village of Fricourt - close to where 21-year-old
Beyond in the sweeping valley behind us lay High Wood and the village of Longueval - where in August 1916
Private John Keeling (Cotterhill Lane) was killed by a snipers bullet. Over the brow to our right and out of sight lay the village of Bazentin where Private Arthur Turner (Hays Yard) was lost on July 14th - his body was never found - and Private George Pratt (Queen Street) was carried from the battlefield there - but later died of his dreadful wounds. Sapper James Chapman (King Street) was also killed in the Bazentin sector a few weeks later in August 1916 - he has no known grave.
Some 12 miles away at the far northern section of the British line at Gommecourt - we remembered Corporal Luther Johnson (Burnell Street) who was one of the first Brimington men to be killed on the 1st July 1916 - and like so many others he too has no known grave. We have visited that area - many times - where he climbed out of his trench on that fateful day and met his death so quickly.
We said a prayer for all of our men as we left the hillside shortly afterwards.
Later we attended the Somme Centennial Commemorations at Thiepval Memorial where at the end of the moving ceremony we were invited to lay our Brimington wreath at the Stone of Remembrance.
Our Brimington Wreath laid at Thiepval Memorial during the Centennial Commemoration Service
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