Cambridgeshire

Remembrance Day: WW1 brothers to be remembered with grave wreath

Skinner brothers Image copyright SKINNER FAMILY/WIMPOLE PAST
Image caption Edward, Frank and Harry Skinner were killed in action during World War One

A parish council is to lay a wreath for the first time at a family grave bearing the name of three brothers killed in World War One.

Edward, Frank and Harry Skinner, from Wimpole, Cambridgeshire, fought in France with the Suffolk Regiment.

Their names also appear on the Wimpole and Arrington war memorial, one of 289 across England to earn Grade II listing in the last 12 months.

Council chairman Ian Hack said the family "made the ultimate sacrifice".

Steve Odell, who curates history website Wimpole Past, said Charles Skinner had insisted his sons' names were added to the family gravestone in Wimpole churchyard.

Image copyright SKINNER FAMILY/WIMPOLE PAST
Image caption Charles and Ada Skinner lost three sons in the war, Harry (standing, centre), Frank (standing, right) and Edward (seated, far right)

Mr Hack said: "It struck me that the war memorial contains the name of the son of the former owner of Wimpole Hall, as well as these three young men who were local lads who fought alongside him.

"They all made the same sacrifice, regardless of rank.

"To lose so many young men from such a small place as Wimpole must have been absolutely devastating at the time."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The Wimpole and Arrington memorial now bears 21 names from World Wars One and Two

Frank, a farm labourer, died aged 21 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July, 1916.

He is buried in Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers-la-Boisselle, France.

His older brother Edward, an engineer's labourer, was reported missing in August 1916 and confirmed dead a year later. He was 24.

Harry died on the "Battlefields of the Somme" on 5 July 1918, aged 20. Both Edward and Harry have no known grave.

"Mr Skinner was a broken man, to lose three of his sons to war," said Mr Odell.

"The fourth son, Arthur, served for the last year of the war. I can't imagine how horrific that must have been for them; the fear of losing him, too."

Image copyright WIMPOLE PAST
Image caption The names of the brothers was added to the family gravestone on their father's wishes

The brothers' story came to light as listed more than 2,640 memorials were listed during the centenary period of 2014 to 2018.

Tony Calladine, regional director for Historic England, said the stories behind the names "still resonate".

"The first two-minute silence and the creation of permanent war memorials gave people across the world the opportunity to express their grief and to honour those who lost their lives in this momentous conflict," he said.

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