The Lost Gardens of Heligan remembers The Battle of The Somme

The Lost Gardens of Heligan remembers The Battle of the Sommme

‘When you go home, tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow, we gave our today’ Kohima Epitaph

The Lost Gardens of Heligan has joined forces with The Royal British Legion to honour the lives of the local Cornish men lost in the devastating 1916 Battle of the Somme.

On Friday 1st July Heligan will stage a poignant centenary event, commemorating the 100th anniversary of what has become one of the most colossal battles in human history. The surrounding parishes of St Ewe, Mevagissey and Gorran lost seven good men to the confines of history on that fateful day, including one from Heligan.

John George Barron served with the 1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. John’s name appears in the Heligan Estate Labour Books as a gardener between April and July 1914, and his surname was deciphered on the walls of the derelict Thunderbox Room, on its discovery in 1990.

On 23rd July, John George Barron’s Battalion was virtually wiped out on that desperately sad July morning at Delville Wood. He was killed on what would prove to be the bloodiest day for the 1st Battalion in the whole period of the Great War.

The Lost Gardens will host a short ceremony on West Lawn at 11am on Friday 1st July which will include a two minute silence and a poetry reading from The Royal British Legion’s free Somme toolkit.

Following this, an evocative outdoor exhibition will open amongst the sea of poppies, to remember the seven local men who lost their lives in this devastating battle 100 years ago.

“We are pleased to be operating in partnership with The Royal British Legion to inform and encourage local communities in acts of small group remembrance and have gifted detailed new research into some of these seven men, back to each parish.

By enhancing awareness of this and creating a shared moment in a beautiful place to reflect, we hope Heligan can re-inspire the drive for peace in our time.” Candy Smit, Heligan Archivist.
The event will be particularly poignant for Heligan as thirteen of its gardeners went off to fight in the Great War, and only three returned.

Heligan would like to extend an invitation of free admission for the opening of the exhibition on 1st July, to all residents of the parishes of St Ewe, Gorran and Mevagissey.

The exhibition will open daily from 10am-5.30pm and remain in situ until Sunday 17th July.
Please bring sturdy footwear for a gentle 10-minute walk and get in contact in advance if disabled access is required. For more information, please visit Heligan.com.

** Country Life is holding a two-minute silence to remember the beginning of the battle of The Somme on July 1 at 7.30am, please do join in if you are able.