Centenary service for First World War soldier buried in Huntingdonshire village

The remembrance service in Stow Longa

The remembrance service in Stow Longa - Credit: Archant

A remembrance service was held in Stow Longa on Sunday to mark the centenary anniversary of the death of a Stonely man who died in the First World War

Pte Horsford is buried in the church at Stow Longa

Pte Horsford is buried in the church at Stow Longa - Credit: Archant

Private William Horsford, from the Cambridgeshire Regiment, died on May 1, 1916 at his home, aged 39, after he contracted pneumonia, and is buried in a family grave in the churchyard at the Church of St Botolph, Stow Longa.

Sunday’s service, conducted by Dr John Rawlinson, was organised by the Royal British Legion’s Riders branch, as part of a project called Cambs876remembered. The Riders have pledged to remember all 876 men who served with the regiment and died in the Great War and are holding memorial services as close to the centenary anniversary of the day the men fell and at the place where there is a memorial or grave. This includes eight men from Huntingdonshire, two of whom are buried at home (Pte Horsford and Samuel Ray who is buried in Molesworth), two in France and four in Belgium. Most of the regiment, were, in fact, from Chatteris, March, Whittlesey, and Wisbech.

“Our project involves journeys at home in the UK and abroad, to remember each and every one of these men on or close to the centenary anniversary of the day they fell. For instance, this goes from a lone grave in Benwick to as many as 62 men on one day in September 1917 at Passchendaele,” said committee member Roger Hutchcraft.

The church service on Sunday, attended by 12 members of the Horsford family, was followed by a grave side service, which included Royal British Legion standard bearers and The Last Post was played, followed by two minutes’ silence. The Riders, who are all motorbike riders, met at the Spaldwick services and rode up to the church.

The Riders will hold 175 services in 2016, 244 in 2017 and 357 in 2018.

Pte Arthur Lavender, from Ramsey, who died on July 25, 1915, has already been remembered at the Ration Farm Cemetery in France and Lance Corporal Edwin Day who fell during the battle of the Somme is among the 72,000 remembered at Thiepval Memorial in France. He died on November 13, 1916, aged 34 and was a postman in St Neots before he joined up. The Riders will hold a service for him at the Thiepval Memorial in November.

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INFO: www.cambs876remembered.com.