Pensioner sets out on Somme pilgrimage

A Long Sutton pensioner will make a 700-mile round trip in 24 hours to visit the memorial of his great uncle who died in the first world war's most notorious battle.

A Long Sutton pensioner will make a 700-mile round trip in 24 hours to visit the memorial of his great uncle who died in the first world war's most notorious battle.

Tony Button, of Daniel's Crescent, will make the pilgrimage to the Thiepval Memorial, which commemorates the 72,000 soldiers that died, but were never found, at the Battle of the Somme, on July 27.

Mr Button, 67, will be accompanied by his son, Andy, 43, and grandsons Oliver Button, 18, and Alex English, 13.

The three generations will travel to France to honour their ancestor, Pte Herbert Cross, who died aged just 24.

Retired builder Mr Button has also visited sites of battles held during Crimean and Boer wars out of personal interest, but this is the first time he has followed family history.

He cites the recent 90th anniversary of the start of the conflict, which began with massive British losses, on July 1, 1916, as a key reason for his decision to take the journey.

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Mr Button and his fellow passengers will see the 100 acre battlefield site and the Ankara Valley as well as the Ulster Tower before concluding

with a two-hour stop at the Anglo-French Thiepval Memorial.

Mr Button intends to lay a wreath at the memorial and pay his respects to Private Cross.