Flackwell Heath story captures spirit of WWI commemorations

From left: Rev Christopher Bull, Raymond Brion, George O'Leary and Nigel Kingham

From left: Rev Christopher Bull, Raymond Brion, George O'Leary and Nigel Kingham

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A SOLEMN story about a teenager from High Wycombe who went to fight in the First World War was recently written and read out by a Flackwell Heath Royal British Legion member.

The fictional account of Thomas ‘Tommy’ Atkins was devised by branch committee member and former RBL chairman George O’Leary to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the start of the war.

The reading was also part of the village’s efforts to mark the occasion and Mr O’Leary hoped it would have shown a good account of what life was like during the war.

He said: “When we were planning what we would be doing in Flackwell Heath to commemorate the start of the war, I thought it would be nice to do something different.

“I decided to do a first person story from the view of a young man who is signing up to fight.

“At the end it becomes clear that he doesn’t make it while he is fighting. I think it was well received and the people listening seemed to like it.”

Mr O’Leary has also praised the villagers for making the day something to be proud of.

As well as his reading, there were also four standard bearers present, with Nigel Kingham representing the RBL.

There was also a service by Reverend Chris Bull and time for residents to place candles next to the war memorial in Common Road.

Mr O’Leary said: “We had at least 100 people join us on the evening, last week, and I think it went really well.

“We normally get a good turnout for these sorts of things and you normally see the same faces, but, I think there were a few new people for this, which was good to see.”

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