St Nicolas' Great War soldiers remembered

THE men who did not come home will be remembered in an illustrated talk in Shoreham.

Recruits for Kitcheners Army leaving Shoreham in September 1914
Recruits for Kitcheners Army leaving Shoreham in September 1914

There are 22 Great War soldiers and airmen commemorated or buried at St Nicolas’ Church, in St Nicolas’ Lane, Shoreham.

Their stories will be told by Nigel Divers, secretary of the Southwick Society, on Saturday at 7.30pm. Admission is free, with a retiring collection in aid of the Friends of St Nicolas, who maintain the fabric of the ancient church.

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The talk, The Men Who Did Not Return, will include Shoreham men and Canadians, volunteers and conscripts, men who joined straight from school and ‘old sweats’, who had served in the Boer War, labourers, a teacher and writer, and professional soldiers.

The grave of Pte Thomas Riley in St Nicolas' churchyard

Some were private soldiers, one was a general. Some died on the Western Front or at Gallipoli, others succumbed to wounds or disease at the huge Shoreham Camp.

There were pilots who died in accidents while training at Shoreham Airport and one was shot in mysterious circumstances. These men had been to village schools or the best public schools, some were single men, others married with families.

Mr Divers said: “It is important to remember these men as real people and not as names on a memorial.

“They were ordinary people like us caught up in cataclysmic events and did their duty for their country.

“They were men who had lives and families, loved and were loved and that is how we should remember them.”

Doors open at 7pm, when a bar and snacks will be available. The presentation will be from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

See today’s Shoreham Herald for more information on the talk.