Relatives pay tribute to Hickling brothers killed on Somme

Christine Fowler unveils the Hickling memorial to her uncles, Charlie and Cecil Simpson, who were killed on the Somme during the First World War EMN-190306-095624001
Christine Fowler unveils the Hickling memorial to her uncles, Charlie and Cecil Simpson, who were killed on the Somme during the First World War EMN-190306-095624001
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A poignant tribute was paid to two brothers who were killed in the First World War with the unveiling of a memorial plaque at Hickling.

Charlie and Cecil Simpson, who grew up in the village, died in separate fierce battles on the Somme in 1917.

A memorial to them was displayed at the old Wesleyan Chapel until it was renovated in 1976 and converted into housing.

And on Sunday, 43 years after the plaque was put into storage, it was restored and upgraded and placed on the wall of the village hall, where the brothers went to school at the end of the 19th century.

Members of their family, including niece Christine Farmer, joined villagers at a special unveiling event.

One of the organisers, Patrick Wadkin, said: “It means a lot to the people of Hickling that we remember these men and the sacrifices they made.

“We are a very small close-knit rural community and the number of people that attended the unveiling just goes to show the feeling towards making sure they will always be remembered.

“It was mentioned that the members of the family that have passed away since would be sitting on a cloud looking down and feeling very proud.”

The brothers, who both served in the Yorkshire Regiment in the Great War, were the sons of George and Sarah Ann Simpson, of Rose Cottage in Hickling.

Charlie was aged 34 when he was killed on June 12, 1917, and he is buried at Fins Cemetery, Sorel-Le-Grand.

Cecil died later that year, on November 23, during the battle of Cambrai while out at night laying wires with an officer and his body was never found. He was 29 and his name is on the Cambrai memorial.

Mr Wadkin thanked the village hall committee and the Royal British Legion for their help with the tribute and praised the families of the brothers for contributing to the cost of renovating the memorial, which was cleaned and had the lettering re-done.

He added: “The generations attending were from niece right down to great-great-great nieces and nephews.

“In fact, it was pointed out by a member of the Royal British Legion that the youngest ones, Toby Smith, Ella Brown and Arlo Dayman, could possibly be around to mark 200 years since Charles and Cecil were killed.”