Church bells to chime for Repps cum Bastwick’s nine fallen heroes
- Credit: Archant
Exactly one century ago today, one of the most fiercesome battles of the First World War took the life of a 34-year-old man.
Charles John Mitchell was killed on October 14, 1916, as he fought to defend his country in the Battle of the Somme.
A private in the Norfolk Regiment, he was the eldest of five siblings who served in the Great War, and one of nine from his village whose lives were taken in battle.
Now, on the 100th anniversary of his death, his village church is preparing to honour his memory, and those of his eight fellow fallen comrades.
On Sunday, at 4.50pm, a bell at St Peter's Church, Repps cum Bastwick, will toll 100 times, as part of a poignant tribute to Private
It will be the first of nine occasions this tribute is made, with his great nephew John Mitchell ringing the bell, accompanied by the private's grand-daughter June Barnard.
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Mr Mitchell, of Hall Farm, said: 'It is so important we remember all the losses of this terrible war, in case we ever have to send our own. I have three children and I just cannot imagine what it must have been like.'
Sally Mitchell, St Peter's church-warden, added: 'I think just the fact these nine people are being remem-bered will mean a lot to their families.
'I don't think the people who went to war really understood what it was they were getting into - those that died were of no age to do so. It was tragic.'
Of the five members of the Mitchell family who went to war, just three returned, with Private Mitchell's younger brother Edgar James
Mitchell, serving as a merchant seaman, also dying, aged 30 on December 12, 1916.
Mrs Mitchell added: 'All of the deaths affect me, but the one that really hits home was Sidney Grimble, who died on October 14, 1918, just over two weeks before the war ended, and he was only 21.'
As well as the tolling of the bells, each name will be written on a ceramic poppy, which was donated to the church by a Repps cum Bastwick villager. The poppy was part of the Tower of London exhibition in 2014.
A special evensong will be held following the bell's tolling.
Mrs Mitchell is appealing for descendents of the nine to volunteer to toll the bells on the other anniversaries. Contact 01692 670521 or email email@example.com