I am sure that everyone has their own story of heroic family members who served during the 1st world war, so today we want to tell you the story of Matthew Lester’s ancestor, Albert Edward Lester, 2nd Lieutenant in the British Army, 13th Battalion London Regiment.
World War One was one of the deadliest conflicts in the history of the human race, in which over 16 million people died. The total number of both civilian and military casualties is estimated at around 37 million people. The war killed almost 7 million civilians and 10 million military personnel. The largest battle of World War 1 was called “The Battle of the Somme” and it is known as one of the bloodiest battles in history. It was fought by the French and British against the Germans on both sides of the River Somme in France and lasted for more than five months. Over a million men were killed or wounded during this battle, and it was the first time that a tank was used in combat.
Great Uncle Albert joined the City of London Regiment in October 1914 as a Sargeant, being posted to Gallipoli, Egypt & France before becoming an Officer in 1916. He was twice mentioned in despatches before being awarded a Military Cross “for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of a raiding party”.
Sadly, at the young age of 22 he was reported wounded and missing, after leading a raid, overcoming the enemy with his expert leadership and saving many lives in the process. He had been at war since he was 18 years old.
If you think about how young and brave the men were, and how we are all still here today due to their sacrifice, it is pretty amazing. I hope that everyone will continue to share their stories and honour the soldiers at a local service this Remembrance Sunday (listed below).
What was it like in the trenches?
- 5am ‘Stand-to’ (short for ‘Stand-to-Arms’, meaning to be on high-alert for enemy attack) half an hour before daylight
- 5.30am Rum ration
- 6am Stand-down half an hour after daylight
- 7am Breakfast (usually bacon and tea)
- After 8am Clean selves and weapons, tidy trench
- Noon Dinner
- After dinner Sleep and downtime
- 5pm Tea
- 6pm Stand-to half an hour before dusk
- 6.30pm Stand-down half an hour after dusk
- 6.30pm onwards Work all night with some time for rest (patrols, digging trenches, putting up barbed wire, getting stores)
Soldiers only got to sleep in the afternoon during daylight and at night for an hour at a time. During rest time they wrote letters and played card games.
Local Remembrance Sunday Services
Here is a rundown of events for this Remembrance Sunday November 11, 2018:
- Bar Hill, 10am: a short parade, then a service at the village church.
- Cambridge, wreaths will be laid at the war memorial in Hills Road and Great St Mary’s Church will host a service, followed by a reception at the Guildhall.
- Chatteris, 2.30am – 4.30am: a parade in-front of the memorial and a special service followed by refreshments at Chatteris Parish Church.
- Cottenham, 10.45am-11.30am: usual parade and ceremony at the war Memorial.
- Duxford, Imperial War Museum: numerous events including a service and march.
- Ely, 10.30am: Ely Cathedral – parade marches off from St Mary’s Green towards the cathedral for a service at 10.30am.
- Fulbourn, 10am: service at St Andrew’s Church, on Cambridge Road, followed by a short parade to the war memorial.
- Girton, 11am: act of remembrance at war memorial, followed by service in St Andrew’s Church.
- Harston, 10am Newton Morning service, followed by prayers at 11am at the War Memorial.
- Histon, 9am an updated Roll of Honour will be dedicated during the morning service at St Andrew’s Church, followed by the traditional
- Remembrance Service on Memorial Green starting at 10.45am.
- Huntingdon, 10.55am: the Town’s Remembrance Sunday for 2018 will be hosted in the Market Square.
- Littleport, 10.20: parade marches off from Ponts Hill and is followed by a service at St. George’s church. There will then be a wreath-laying ceremony taking place at the war memorial.
- Ramsey, 3pm: a service will be held at St Thomas a Becket church.
- Sawston, 9am-11am: parade leading up to a remembrance service at St Mary’s Church.
- Sawtry, 10.45am: service at the village church.
- Soham, 10.55am: act of remembrance at the war memorial, followed by service at St Andrew’s Church at 11.40am.
- Somersham, 11am: informal gathering at the Cross in front of the War Memorial. The official parade will be at 10.50am in front of the War Memorial with Standards displayed. The parade will be followed by a service in the Parish Church of Saint John the Baptist.
- St Ives, 10.38am: ceremony in Market Hill. There will also be a parade in St Ives at 5pm on November 10 till 12pm on November 11.
- St Neots, 10.30am: main service will take place, the beacon lighting will be from 6 – 7.30pm
- Warboys 10am: remembrance service will last from 10am – 12pm.
- Yaxley, 3pm: Remembrance service at St Peter’s Church.