SERVICEMEN who gave their lives in the First WorldWar are to be remembered at a poignant exhibition this weekend.
The exhibition, designed to honour soldierswho fought for their country, is at St Margaret Parish Church, in London Road, Benfleet, tomorrow and Sunday, from 11am to 4pm.
Church warden of St Margaret, Helen Chapman, 65, of Albert Road, said: “It is just a small exhibition, but I feel these men should be recognised.
“Many of them had links to the parishes of Bowers Gifford and North Benfleet, but did not return. Not many are remembered on any public memorial.”
Many of the men who went to war came from poor backgrounds, making it difficult for organisers to pinpoint their history.
Mrs Chapman said: “Those who lived around the area were not well to do and people seemed to move around a lot at the time, following wherever their jobs took them.
“We havemanaged to gather information on 12 men who joined the Army. I think this will help us remember how the area was affected in the war.”
Among the men the exhibition is dedicated to is Wilfred Earnest Harrison, who was born in 1892 and was the son of the rector of the church.
He joined the 11th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment in July 1915 and by 1916 Wilfred had climbed the ranks, eventually becoming a captain.
In 1918, Wilfred travelled to Armentieres in Northern France, where he became involved in the Battle of Lys.
It was during this battle that Wilfred, aged 26, lost his life.
Mrs Chapman said: “There were 500 casualties, dead and wounded, including Captain Wilfred Ernest Harrison, who died of his wounds on April 10, 1918.”
No picture of Wilfred has been found, but organisers believe he could be one of the men pictured around his father, the Rev Arthur Harrison, in the picture below, taken shortly before the war.
Mrs Chapman added: “Wilfred’s story is a representation of our local men going to war. Many of the 12 men we have researched lost their lives towards the end, or even after the war, because of injury. This is just a good way of remembering them.”
Mrs Chapman first came up with the the idea of the exhibition after coming across a similar display in Cornwall.
She said: “There isn’t much available for us to remember such soldiers by and I think residents would really be interested in learning about these men.”
Entry to the exhibition is free. Call 01268 581404.