Huntingdonshire village holds poignant First World War ceremony

war 40

war 40 - Credit: Archant

A poignant ceremony to honour a soldier who gave his life for his country in the First World War was held in Hilton.

People gathered at the parish church lychgate to pay their respects to Lenham Yates as part of the St Ives (Hunts) and District Branch of the Royal British Legion’s commitment to remember every casualty of the conflict over the next five years.

Mr Yates, of the Old Post Office, Grove End, was a labourer before becoming a stoker 1st class on board HMS Aboukir. The crew was patrolling the North Sea off the coast of the Netherlands when the boat was struck by a torpedo from a German submarine.

Aged 21, Mr Yates died alongside 1,400 other sailors, while 800 were saved. Family members including Mr Yates’ great-nieces Jenny Cornwall and Pat Simons, from Fenstanton, attended the remembrance ceremony, held on the date of his death.

On Monday last week, guests listened to the Last Post bugle call and observed a minute of silence, before a prayer and a poetry recital.

Mr Yates’ shipmate William Sadler, from Tottenham, was also honoured by members of his family for the sacrifice he made.

His granddaughter Barbara Warrior, of Tudor Road, Godmanchester, was presented with a framed citation for Mr Sadler by her granddaughter Emma Kent, who also gave another for Mr Yates, which will be kept in Hilton Parish Church.

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Many others paid their respects on the day, including members of the Royal British Legion.

Margaret Shardlow, a Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal organiser for Hilton, said: “This was a sombre, reflective and moving time in Hilton’s simple country churchyard where another sailor is buried in a war grave, where Lenham’s brother will be honoured next March and where the Royal British Legion will conduct 10 more such ­ceremonies by 2019.”