Schools support Somme Living Memories

Schools support Somme Living Memories

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Skinners' Kent Academy Somme

Around 150 people gathered at Tunbridge Wells Cemetery on Saturday to remember those who fell at the Battle of the Somme.

Students and cadets from Skinners’, TWGGS, Skinners’ Kent Academy and St Gregory’s took part, as well as local cadet forces, army reserves and town and county dignitaries.

The open-air Living Memory event at the cemetery’s Cross of Sacrifice marked the 100th anniversary of the Somme offensive.

Before the service commenced, a red sash ribbon was placed on each of the 75 graves to honour those from the town who died in the First World War. They will be left there for two weeks for others to see.

The event was organised by the Friends of Tunbridge Wells Cemetery with the support of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

“It was a terrific attendance,” said Mr Peter Blackwell, of the Friends group. “I was very pleased. I didn’t expect so many people. The whole object was to have young people with us and they were here, too, in abundance.”

Tunbridge Wells Cemetery
PHOTOS: David Hodgkinson

Bob Atwood, Chairman of the Friends, said: “It is particularly striking considering so many of those who died had not long left their school years behind.”

“In organising this we have also uncovered interesting stories about local people in the First World War, and we would love more families to come and help us to create a biographical record of them.”

Special guests included 96-year-old Second World War hero William ‘Alf’ Hunt of Ramslye, whose father served in the First World War, as well as Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Chief Executive William Benson, who laid a wreath.