Fringe Box



Worplesdon Remembers Its Men Who Died on The Somme

Published on: 1 Jul, 2016
Updated on: 5 Jul, 2016

A short service was held this morning (July 1) at St Mary’s Church, Worplesdon to remember The Battle of the Somme.

Somme St Mary's

Pictured from left: John McLean, friend of St Mary’s Church and reader at the service; Bob McShee, who helped to organise the event; the Revd Anne Payne, who took the service, David Hypher DL, who read the exhortation; and Kenneth Thomson, the piper who played the tune The Battle of the Somme.

The service opened at 7.28am with a two-minute silence after which a whistle was blown, and Bob McShee, who organised the event in conjunction with the clergy of the church and John McLean, friend of St Mary’s then spoke. He said: “I would like to welcome you all here today and thank the clergy team and all those who have helped to make this ceremony possible.

“Our service started with a whistle and you may wonder why.

“On the 1st of July 1916 all along the Somme front line, officers blew whistles and their troops scrambled up ladders to go over the top. There was no running; instead, troops were ordered to walk towards the enemy lines. Met with relentless and continuous machine-gun fire, thousands of brave men were cut down in minutes.

“By the end of that first day, 19,240 British soldiers had lost their lives and the casualty figure, (killed and injured) was an over-whelming 57, 470. It is the highest number of casualties suffered by the British Army in a single day.  July 1 1916 is rightly referred to as the worst day in British military history, but the battle waged on for another 140 days.”

Bob also said that from the parish of Worplesdon, six soldiers died on the Somme, not five as listed in the order of service.

Herbert Deacon died in 1918 and not on the Somme, and Albert Longford’s middle name is James not John.

He added that this new informationw was given to him late on Thursday.

The correct names of the men who fell on the Somme are: Edward Hebborn. Albert James Langford, Walter Percy Messenger, Alfred Searle, George Stillwell, and David West.

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