The Bergerac and Midsomer Murders star visited the museum on Monday to help launch a commemorative World War One book as the town gears up to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War.

BERGERAC’S John Nettles was at Ilfracombe Museum on Monday to launch a new book published as part of the town’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of World War One.

Letters from the Trenches by Jane Dendle, incorporating The Belgium/Ilfracombe Connection 1914-1918 by Sue Garwood has been made possible by Heritage Lottery funding.

It follows Jane’s research of letters sent home from the front by Ilfracombe soldiers - of which several have been published in the Gazette – as well as Sue’s investigation into the origins of two Belgian war graves.

The book will be given to people taking part in a commemorative parade on Saturday, August 2, dedicated to the Ilfracombe men who went away to fight in the Great War, of which 166 did not return.

Each will be represented in the parade by a descendent or someone who has signed up to the Adopt a Soldier scheme Sue has organised.

Actor and writer John Nettles, of detective shows Bergerac and Midsomer Murders fame, visited the museum several weeks ago to research information for a BBC Radio Devon show and happily agreed to return to help launch the book.

“What a really lovely bloke, he was happy to talk to people and sign the book, we had a wonderful afternoon,” said Sue.

Any remaining copies of the book will be available from the museum and Tourist Information Centre at the landmark after the commemoration events.

The parade on Saturday, August 2 will be led by Town Crier Roy Goowin, will form up at the Pier at 1pm and followed by the blessing of the new Ilfracombe standard, set off at 2pm to make its way to a memorial at Runnymede Gardens.

Marching with the Belgium flag will be Saskia Van de Voorde, the great great niece of Camille Kerckvoorde, one of two Belgians buried at Holy Trinity.

At the memorial, the names of the 166 fallen will be read out and a plaque placed on a wall of the gardens, to remain until after Remembrance Day in November

The parade will be joined by two Australian and a Belgian town crier, who will gather again on Sunday at 10am in the gardens for a town crier competition featuring 32 criers.