The Sleaford branch of the Royal British Legion held a short, poignant service at the town’s cemetery today (Tuesday) to mark the centenary since the biggest loss of life in one battle for the Lincolnshire Regiment during the First World War.
Gathering at 12.45pm on October 13, a whistle was blown by branch chairman Clive Candlin at 1pm to commemorate the time when the boys went ‘over the top’ to attack the heavily fortified ‘Hohenzollern Redoubt’ in the German lines where sadly over 300 members of the Territorial Army section of the Regiment were killed and countless more injured.
Tragically, the preceding artillery barrage and gas attack proved ineffective and the soldiers were mown down in No Man’s Land by machine guns.
A number of relatives of those involved in the action, including one who was injured, attended the service. A wreath was laid by Mayor of Sleaford Coun Garry Titmus, himself a former member of HM Armed Forces.
Rev Philip Johnson, Vicar of Sleaford, listed the names of six servicemen from the battle whose graves are in the Eastgate cemetery.
They were: Cpl Robert Arthur Coy, 24, of Mareham Terrace, Pt Edward Vernon Cracknell, 20, of Eastgate, William Dickenson, Pt James Melbourne Pask, 20, of Holdingham, Cpl Charles Neal Stanyon, 26, of Leasingham Moor, and Pt Thomas Townsend, 20, of Handley Street.
There was a pause for silence and the words of the Ode of Remembrance were said by Mr Candlin.