Moving service to honour fallen Melton soldiers at Passchendaele

The 'drumhead' altar is constructed from drums at Sage Cross Church at a service to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Melton's fallen at the Battle of Passchendaele during the First World War EMN-170731-102310001
The 'drumhead' altar is constructed from drums at Sage Cross Church at a service to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Melton's fallen at the Battle of Passchendaele during the First World War EMN-170731-102310001
0
Have your say

A century after Melton troops fell on the battlefield in the Belgian village of Passchendaele, they were remembered at a special service in the town.

As the nation marked the 100th anniversary of one of the fiercest battles of the First World War, Sage Cross Church was packed on Sunday for Melton’s personal tribute.

Prayers are observed at a service to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Melton's fallen at the Battle of Passchendaele during the First World War EMN-170108-110640001

Prayers are observed at a service to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Melton's fallen at the Battle of Passchendaele during the First World War EMN-170108-110640001

The names of the 30 men who lost their lives in what was also known as the Third Battle of Ypres were poignantly read out to the congregation of around 150 people.

Representatives of the town’s Defence Animal Centre joined Royal British Legion members and dignitaries, including Mayor of Melton, Councillor Tejpal Bains, at the service.

Rev James Skinner conducted the service from an altar constructed of drums, courtesy of The Melton Band, as the forces did out in the field during the Great War.

Mark Whitehead, one of the service’s organisers from the town’s legion branch said: “It was a very sombre atmosphere with the band playing music from the World War One era.

“There was a very good turnout and it was nice to see a lot of younger people there too.”

Mr Whitehead added: “It was very moving when the names of the fallen were read out and there was a lot of interest in them when we went back to the legion for a meal.

“There were family members of soldiers who were killed in the battle and a lot of older people there knew members of their families.”

One of those killed at Passchendaele was Gunner William Leadenham.

The son of a Wymondham farmer, William was living at Eye Kettleby when he joined the Royal Garrison Artillery.

He died the day after being shot in the head on August 17, 1917, just a few days before his 20th birthday.

Reports in the Melton Mowbray Times and Vale of Belvoir Gazette reported he had been educated at the Melton Mowbray Grammar School and worked on the family farm before enlistingin the town in September 1916.