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First World War soldier is remembered on the centenary of the day he died



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Ian Westrope, left, with Jenny and Malcolm Cullup at the WWI grave of Ian's great-uncle, Pte Reginald Morley (2627895)
Ian Westrope, left, with Jenny and Malcolm Cullup at the WWI grave of Ian's great-uncle, Pte Reginald Morley (2627895)

A Steeple Bumpstead man took a poignant trip to France to visit the grave of his great uncle - 100 years to the day since he was killed in action in the First World War.

Ian Westrope, who lives in North Street, decided to visit the grave of his great uncle, Reginald Morley on May 29, the date on which his ancestor died in action in 1918 at the age of only18.

Pte Morley, who enlisted in his home town of Haverhill at the age of only 15, was killed while serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Essex Regiment in Mont-Bernanchon, where he is buried in the British Cemetery.

Ian undertook the trip with his sister, Jenny Cullup, her husband Malcolm and two of Reginald’s great-nephews, Chris and Jonathan Morley.

Chris and Jonathan Morley at Pte Reginal Morley's WWI grave (2628100)
Chris and Jonathan Morley at Pte Reginal Morley's WWI grave (2628100)

The visit to Mont-Bernanchon was just the first stage of a three-day trip for the quintet, however, as they went on to pay their respects to many others who fell in the battlefields of France and Belgium.

Having moved on from France they arrived at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres, Belgium,where the names are inscribed of 54,896 British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in the area during the First World War.

While there, Ian chanced upon Rev Jonathan Lowe, who is the vicar of St Mary’s Church in Steeple Bumpstead but also a padre at the Army Training Centre in Pirbright, Surrey.

“I laid a wreath on behalf of Steeple Bumpstead Parish Council (on which he is a councillor) at Menin Gate in memory of all the Bumpstead men who had died in the wars.

“Rev Lowe laid a wreath with me and Malcolm. We laid a wreath for Reg and all those who had been killed on that day 100 years ago.

“I thought it would be a nice idea to go over there and lay a wreath on behalf of all our boys.”

The group also visited the Tyne Cot Cemetery in Passchendaele, the largest commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in the world, where 8,961 British soldiers are buried along with 997 Canadians, 1,268 Australians. 520 New Zealanders, 90 South Africans, 14 Newfoundlanders, two British West Indians and four Germans.

Their trip concluded with a trip to the Flanders Museum in Ypres on the final day before they drove back home via the Channel Tunnel.