National Army Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand : Military History & Army War Museum

Commemorations for the Bere Ferrers Rail Tragedy of 1917 to be Held Next Year

Ring of 10 hand crafted poppies made by Shelley  Kirton in remembrance

Ring of 10 hand crafted poppies made by Shelley Kirton in remembrance

The Bere Alston Branch of the Royal British Legion in England will be holding a Commemorative Event on September 24th 2017 at 15:52 at Bere Ferrers Station to remember the lives of the soldiers who were tragically killed there in 1917.

This will be the 100th Anniversary of the rail accident which resulted in the deaths of 10 members of the New Zealand Expeditionary force (28th Reinforcements) on their way to Salisbury Plain.

The details of the 10 men who passed away that day are as follows: Private WS Gillanders, aged 36, Service No 55050, Private WF Greaves, aged 31, Service No 57068, Private JS Jackson, aged 20, Service No 55753, Private J Judge age unknown, 56791, Private CI Kirton, aged 21, 56795, Private BAW Mc Bryde, aged 24, Service No 55776, Private RV Mc Kenna aged 20, Service No 57122, Private WJ Trussel, aged 28, Service No 56874, Private J Warden, aged 33, Service No 56883, Private SE West, aged 21, Service No 54624.

The organisers would like any descendants of these men to contact them if they’re interested in being involved with this event.

In January of 2015 Shelley Kirton, a descendant of one of the ten soldiers who passed away at Bere Ferrers, made a special contribution to the National Army Museum’s Patriotic Call to Yarn project. Chudleigh Inwood Kirton was Shelley Kirton’s great uncle and her tribute consisted of ten immaculately hand-made poppies to represent each of those killed in this tragedy. These poppies were placed together as requested by Shelley to make a mini memorial within our wall of poppies remembering the New Zealand soldiers who died during World War One.

Read our article to find out more about Shelley Kirton’s story and the Bere Ferrers Rail Tragedy.