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Some time ago I decided to research my fathers' family tree. I have an aunty and two uncles who are still alive, all in their 80's.

I discovered a great uncle Herbert who had been killed on the Somme. None of my living relatives had heard of him, even though he was their uncle and my father had been named after him.

Herbert was born in 1895 in Thorney near Peterborough. On the 1911 Census he was listed as a farm labourer. In February or March 1915 he enlisted in The Suffolk regiment which later became known as the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire regiment. Herbert went to France on the 9th January 1916 and died of wounds on the 1st of July that year. He and 691 others died defending the village of La Boiselle.

Herbert died of wounds in a field hospital which meant he had a grave and wasn't left on the battlefield like so many others were

He is buried in Meaulte cemetry near Albert and this was our first stop when we went to France in May.

The cemetery is very well maintained as all Commonwealth War Cemeteries are. It was very poignant for me to see his grave after doing so much research on him, also the name on the grave was the same as my fathers.

We drove slowly through La Boiselle and felt sad that so many men died defending such an insignificant little village

We went from France to Ypres where we attended the ceremony at The Menin Gate, it was the fourth visit for us but this time the last post and two minutes silence had a special meaning for me.

Meet The Author...
Shirley Barsby
Who Am I?

I am divorced with 2 children and 4 grand- children and I have a miniature poodle, Skippy, who chose me when I went to a rescue centre. I was a carer in the community for most of my working life, I now enjoy getting involved in my local community, walking Skippy and going to the seaside when I can.

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