At this time of annual remembrance and reflection some of my friends from the ABF Soldiers Charity World War 1 Frontline Walk of 2014 have decided to sign up and walk again through France and Belguim in 2016 – the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, to raise more money for ABF The Soldiers Charity http://www.soldierscharity.org/?gclid=COvQ3ZqlhskCFWnkwgodRGcD0g
After much consideration and deliberation, I have taken the plunge and decided to go for it again myself and walk with them between the 5th and 9th October 2016, as it was an amazing physical and emotional challenge last year, during which I made some fantastic friends.
Since signing up I have already been asked why do it all over again? – well 1st July 2016 will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme and after having researched many World War 1 soldiers’ over the last few years, I have always been staggered by just how many were killed in those summer months of 1916.
Framlingham War Memorial 1921
One of those soldiers was Herbert Philip BONNEY from Framlingham who was killed on the first day of this Battle on 1st July 1916 aged 26 and although we have no family connection, I have always had an interest in him, as his mother Ellen’s maiden name was LAST.
Herbert Philip was the son of Arthur and Ellen Bonney (nee LAST) who for many years ran Bonneys Bakery in Wells Close Square in Framlingham.
Bonneys Bakery in the background
He had eleven siblings Ellen, Florence, Ernest, Stanley, Arthur, Mabel, Elsie, Frederick, Thomas, Reginald and Sidney. In the 1901 census the family were living at the bakery at Fern Bank in Albert Place Framlingham and Herbert was aged 10.
Herbert was also a regular bell ringer at Framlingham and he is commemorated on the roll of honour of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, which is held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The Ringing World newspaper of 4th September 1914 records that he was already serving with 2nd Essex, and that his two brothers Lance-Corporal Ernest Bonney and Private Reginald Bonney were both serving with the 4th Suffolk’s.
Service Details: Lance Sergeant 9765 – 2nd Battalion Essex Regiment
Place of Death: France & Flanders
Place of Burial: No Known Grave
Commemorated: Thiepval Memorial – France
Thiepval Memorial in France
The following is an extract from the:
Framlingham Weekly News on 29th July 1916
“We also record this week with much regret the death of Lce-Sergt. H. P. Bonney, which took place on July 1st – the first day of the British offensive, in which his Regiment was engaged. Bertie (as his birthplace best knew him) was in the Regular forces when war began and accompanied one of the first drafts of the Expeditionary Force to France. He had consequently seen considerable fighting and experienced many hairbreadth escapes and it was hoped that the good luck with which he seemed to have been endowed would accompany him to the end. But relentless fate decreed otherwise. On behalf of our readers we beg to express sincere sympathy with the parents and relatives of the above mentioned.”
Herbert is also remembered on the Roll of Honour for Bell Ringers killed in World War 1 in St Paul’s Cathedral in London
When I walk between 5th and 9th October next year I will be remembering Herbert Philip BONNEY and all those other men killed over the summer months of 2016 and in doing so and completing my walk I will be helping to raise vital funds for our soldiers and their families in need to day.
I know it is a big ask, as the support, messages and donations in 2014 were amazing, but I have set up a new 2016 fundraising page with the aim of raising £100 a month for the next 12 months and I will be undertaking various activities to achieve this goal and I can assure you that every penny donated will make a difference to our soldiers – if you can help please visit https://www.justgiving.com/simonlast