Padbury holds moving coming home service for villagers killed in the First World War

St Mary's Church 'There but not there' silhouettes
St Mary's Church 'There but not there' silhouettes

Last Friday, St Mary's Church in Padbury held a 'coming home' memorial service for the 17 men from the village who were killed in the First World War.

Last Friday, St Mary's Church in Padbury held a 'coming home' memorial service for the 17 men from the village who were killed in the First World War.

Service attendees in Padbury

Service attendees in Padbury

They were represented by the ‘There But Not There’ transparent silhouettes which, along with a brief description of each man, were seated on pews throughout the church.

The over 80 attendees were invited to sit among the figures as Reverend Ros Roberts conducted a short dedication to the fallen, each marked by a passing bell.

Afterwards, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Ken Roberts gave a fuller account of each man, and the circumstances of their deaths, as well as giving thanks to all 63 Padbury men who served during the war.

Ken said:

Fallen soldiers description card

Fallen soldiers description card

“It was extremely gratifying to see so much support for this service, and how much pride, respect and gratitude, tinged with sadness, there is in this village for our fallen from the First World War. This is well-illustrated by the readiness of individuals and local organisations to sponsor the silhouettes, and all those who contributed to the service.”

Attendees included the Smith family, who live in the village, and who are the descendants of Private William Smith, the first Padbury man to be lost in the War, in 1915.

Perhaps the most poignant story was the attendance of Mary Chappell who still lives in the cottage in the village from where her direct relatives, brothers Joseph and William Whitehead left to go off to fight for their country and were sadly killed, Joseph in France in 1916 and William in Egypt in 1917.

The Adstock Singers concluded the service by performing a number of songs and hymns associated with the First World War, including It’s a Long Way to Tipperary and Abide with me.

'There but not there' silhouette

'There but not there' silhouette

The evening ended with light refreshments and an opportunity to see and ‘meet’ all of the silhouettes and learn more about them.

The Padbury Fallen will return to St Mary’s Church for the Remembrance Day commemorations.