21 year old Rifleman, Chudleigh Inwood Kirton was one of ten soldiers killed during WWI in a terrible tragedy at Bere Ferrers station near Plymouth in South Devon. Chudleigh was Shelley Kirton of Northland’s great uncle and she has made a very special tribute through the National Army Museum’s Patriotic Call to Yarn project, of ten immaculately hand-made poppies to represent each of those men killed.
The NZEF 28th Reinforcement’s two troopships Ulimaroa and Norman had just arrived at Plymouth Sound from New Zealand and were en-route from the docks to Sling Camp on the Salisbury Plains when the tragedy occurred.
Two men from each carriage were assigned to leave the carriage to collect refreshments when the train stopped. This they did, but two circumsatances combined to see tragedy unfold. Firstly, the train made an unscheduled and unannounced stop. Secondly the men got out of the train on the wrong side simply because they had assumed the door of entry was also the correct door to exit by. They were then on the train tracks and were struck by the west bound express from Waterloo to Plymouth.
The ten are buried at the Commonwealth War Grave at Plymouth (Efford) Cemetery, Devon.
These poppies will be placed together as requested by Shelley to make a mini memorial within our wall of poppies tribute in remembrance of these ten men.
“I am very proud to have participated in this wonderful memorial exhibition and it has been quite an emotional experience to knit a poppy for each of these lost soldiers.” (Shelley Kirton, Jan 2015)
A special thanks to Shelley for sharing this story and for being part of this commemoration.