A Service of Remembrance
And Reflection to
Commemorate the Centenary
Of the Battle of the Somme

Trimdon Churches Together
St. Mary Magdalene Church, Trimdon
Friday 15th. July 2016


Welcome to the ancient church of St Mary Magdalene which has been witness to the Christian faith for over eight centuries of life in Trimdon. It remains a special place of comfort and peace as well as a focal point for local people in times of happiness and sadness alike.

Today, like on the anniversary of the outbreak of war two years
ago, the whole Trimdon community comes together for an
ecumenical service to remember the 40 young men from our own community who died in the Battle
of the Somme a century ago.

It is an opportunity to reflect on the tragic events of summer 1916 and to pray for peace in our world. We bring our own sorrows, confusion and longings together today as we reflect on the horror and destruction of the Somme. We call to mind all those who suffered on all sides of the conflict. The bereaved, lost, wounded, families that were shattered, those who held in silence unspeakable memories of warfare. We also remember those who waited anxiously at home in this community.

Note: Just before the end of the service, the following reflection was read to the congregation by John Burton MBE. Hon.. Deputy Lieutenant of County Durham.

“With winter beginning to close in on the already atrocious conditions, the battle was brought to a close on 19th November and further hostilities in the area resolved to recommence in February. Over 141 horrific days approximately one million men from all sides had lost their lives, countless others had been maimed and injured, whole communities devastated and the Somme region physically destroyed. It had been the bloodiest battle in human history and the allies had advanced just seven miles.

Private Fred Shorthouse 2960 1stl5th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry was one of the last Trimdon men lost in the campaign bringing the total to 40 in just five months. He was lost in action on 8th November, just ten days before battle's end. The son of Frederick and Annie Shorthouse of 7 Pringle Street, Trimdon Colliery, Fred left behind his wife Polly and newly born son Arthur who never met his father. A volunteer in Kitchener's New Army, Fred had enlisted for war service with his brother Joe, landing in Boulogne in April 1915. Both brothers lost their lives. Fred has no known grave.

We have reflected today on the inconceivable scale of loss and destruction a century ago. We have honoured the service and sacrifice of people from all walks of life who were caught up in the devastation. But above all, we come together in hope. Hope that we might learn from the mistakes of the past and that all your people might know the Light of Christ and work together in a spirt of peace and tolerance for a better future.”


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