How Skegness remembered the Battle of the Somme

A wartime exhibition is taking place at the Village Church Farm museum in Skegness. ANL-160107-075238001
A wartime exhibition is taking place at the Village Church Farm museum in Skegness. ANL-160107-075238001

Commemorations are taking place across the nation today to remember the 100th birthday of the Battle of the Somme.

An early morning ceremony took place at Lincoln Castle where, in view of the Poppies: Wave sculpture, a two-minute silence took place at the time the soldiers went “over the top”.

As the young soldier pulled the bayonet from his body he turned to see the man who inflicted it on him and saw a German man old enough to be his father.

Ken Raynor, son of soldier

The Battle of the Somme lasted four and a half months. In that time the battle claimed over a million casualties, from both Allied and German Forces, which makes it one of the bloodiest battles in history.

The 90th anniversary of the First World War Battle of the Somme was marked in the Skegness Standard with memories of some of those heroes families.

On this day when the world remembers, we revisit these memories....

KEN Raynor’s father, Frank, fought in the second battle, in the East Yorkshire Light Infantry.

Retreating from the trenches Mr Raynor was stabbed with a bayonet through the right side of his body.

As the young soldier pulled the bayonet from his body he turned to see the man who inflicted it on him and saw a German man old enough to be his father.

The 17-year-old soldier ran for the British lines for first aid but was hit by shrapnel on the way.

He was brought back to England where he was on the danger list at hospital for three weeks.

Ken, from Well Vale Drive, Chapel St Leonards, said he and his late brother Denis worked with their father for 30 years and he never wanted to speak of his time in the Battle of the Somme.

He died in 1972, aged 73.

ANOTHER story of the Battle of Somme came from Mrs Ida Hewson.

Mrs Hewson, 85, of Batemans Lane, Wainfleet, remembers little of when her father returned from the war as she was so young at the time but is proud to say he fought.

Her father, William Woodward, was born in Skegness and was a milkman before he went to war.

She recalls when he returned he was ‘bloated from the diet of cabbage soup’ and died soon after, aged 37.

She said although she remembers little she wanted to mention him as he died because of the Battle of Somme.

* An exhibition of wartime memorabilia, including the Battle of the Somme, is taking the Village Church Farm museum in Skegness.

It had been collected over 25 years by museum volunteer Rodney Martin.

Visitors can view it daily from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 2pm.

Read more:

Memories of the Battle of the Somme

The path to the Battle of the Somme

Pictures: Salute the Armed Forces in Skegness