Call for Ilfracombe children to mark Great War anniversary

Ilfracombe Town Crier Robert Martin, who led a parade of volunteers through the town in 1914 as they

Ilfracombe Town Crier Robert Martin, who led a parade of volunteers through the town in 1914 as they embarked for the First World War. - Credit: Archant

Children urged to help with First World War 100th anniversary events by ‘adopting a soldier’ and to joining a grand parade on August 2.

CHILDREN across the Ilfracombe, Combe Martin and Woolacombe areas are being invited to ‘adopt a soldier’ as part of the town’s commemoration for the 100th anniversary of World War One.

Every child in schools across the area has been sent a poster asking if their families recognise anyone from a list of names of those who marched off to war on August 2, 1914.

They were led by the then Town Crier Robert Martin in a parade through the town to the station and a poignant recreation is planned this year on Saturday, August 2, with a procession led by current Town Crier Roy Goodwin.

Local children are being asked to take part to ‘adopt a soldier’ and join the parade to represent either their ancestor or one of the 166 young men from the town that lost their lives in the war.

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Each child taking part will be given a photograph of ‘their’ soldier, with as much information as Ilfracombe Museum can gather, plus a commemorative book that is being compiled for the occasion, containing letters from Ilfracombe soldiers in the trenches.

The procession will make its way from the Pier to Runnymede Gardens and be joined by standard bearers, marching bands and 30 town criers from across the country.

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Representatives from Belgium will also be attending, in honour of around 1,200 Belgians were either evacuated or brought wounded to Ilfracombe.

In the cemetery at Holy Trinity are two Belgian war graves of Camille Kerckvoorde and Emile Francken, who died in 1915 of their wounds.

The great-grandniece of Camille and her family are travelling to Ilfracombe to represent their country and carry the Belgium standard on August 2.

All the town criers will be back on Sunday, August 3 for the National Town Criers Competition at Runnymede bandstand.

* Families who would like their children to adopt a solider are invited to call Sue Garwood on 01271 863551 or email

To share your stories of World War One, telephone the Gazette newsdesk on 01271 345056, email or write to us at Unit 3, Old Station Road, Barnstaple, EX32 8PB.

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