Service planned in King’s Lynn to commemorate centenary of Battle of the Somme

War memorials in Tower Gardens, King's Lynn in the shadow of Greyfriars Tower. ENGANL00120130220145137

War memorials in Tower Gardens, King's Lynn in the shadow of Greyfriars Tower. ENGANL00120130220145137

A commemorative service and parade is due to take place in Lynn to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

The service, open to all, begins at All Saints’ Church, in Hillington Square, 6.30pm on Friday, July 1 - the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the battle.

Fr Adrian Ling, of All Saints Church, said: “Several Lynn men lost their lives in the battle and the stories of some of them will be told during the service, along with a reading war poetry inspired by the battle.

“All Saints’ Church contains a window that commemorates Robert Bardell, who was killed in the Battle of the Somme. It shows Jesus as the Light of the World with a lantern in his hand.”

At the end of the service a light will be taken from the church to Tower Gardens, in a precession of Royal British Legion standards and veterans, led by West Norfolk mayor David Whitby. The procession is expected to begin at 7.30pm.

The light will shine in the Greyfriars tower until November, marking the duration of the battle.

Fr Ling said: “Attempts to find the likeness of Robert Bardell have so far proved unsuccessful. Despite having such a large memorial installed to his memory, no photographs of him have been found.”

He appealed for anyone with a photo to get in touch.

Robert Bardell was a prominent citizen in the town. The son of William and Martha Bardell he lived at London Road and Melrose House Goodwins Road. He was manager and partner in the family business, The King’s Lynn Building Material Company, and was instrumental in works to the sewerage system, street paving and restoration work on local churches. He was a prominent member of All Saints’ Church where he was sidesman and member of the parochial church council. He was also a councillor and magistrate.

Robert volunteered in September 1915. A keen tennis player, he joined the 1st Sportsman’s Battalion, which was involved in the attack on Delville Wood on July 27, 1916. Robert was one of 57 officers and men killed that day, although his date of death is recorded as July 29. His body might have been found later or he may have died from wounds.

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. After the war Robert’s mother had the memorial window commissioned in his memory which was dedicated by the Bishop of Thetford in 1920.

Anyone with a photograph should email: AdrianRLing@btinternet.com.