SHE was born 90 years after the First World War started, but on Monday (August 4), Abigail Eames took part in a village’s commemoration of that fateful date a century ago.
Abigail, from Goring, was chosen to raise the Angmering flag outside the village hall because her appearance in a BBC docu-drama had poignant links with the ceremony.
Earlier this year the young actress featured in The Crimson Field, about nurses in the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD).
And among the names read out at the event, of those from Angmering who died serving their country during the First World War, was VAD nurse Janet Clare-Bell, of Church Farm House, Rectory Lane.
She died, aged 40, in December, 1916 – for some time she had been nursing wounded soldiers at the Littlehampton Voluntary Aid Hospital.
Angmering’s flag will remain flying until November, 2019, the centenary of the final death of a villager arising from the war. On each centenary of one of the 42 who died, Roger Miles, the village’s ‘flag master’, will lower it to half-mast.
He has also compiled a booklet giving details of each of the 42, which was on display in the village hall after Monday’s event, and will remain on view in Angmering Library until November, 2019. A similar list can be seen at www.angmeringvillage.co.uk
About 150 people attended a short service around the war memorial on the village green before the flag-raising.
It was one of a number of sombre ceremonies in towns and villages across the Gazette area marking the centenary of the start of the First World War.
War memorials bearing the names of the fallen were the focus of most of the commemorations, as communities came together to honour those who died in ‘the war to end all wars’.
Roads in Arundel town centre were closed on Sunday afternoon for a service paying tribute to the men from the town who lost their lives in the conflict.
The Duke of Norfolk laid a wreath on the war memorial and mayor, Michael Tu, then placed the first of 93 wooden crosses in memory of the town’s First World War dead, followed by children and townspeople with the other 92.
Arundel town crier Angela Standing and Peter James, secretary of the Arundel branch of the Royal British Legion, read out each of the 93 names, beginning with Sapper Harry Mills, the first man from the town to die in the war.
The event was organised by Mr James, Robin and Karen Berryman, of Arundel Museum, and Arundel Town Council.