A BOOK details stories of servicemen and women who not only served in but survived World War 1.

Bob Marshall’s new book called ‘Have You Forgotten Yet will be launched on Saturday, November 3 at 2.30pm in the Crawford Hall, Bidford-on-Avon where there will be a Commemoration in Words and Music, ‘Returned 1918, Remembered, 2018.’

On April, 11, 1915 the Wayfarer, a troopship en route for Gallipoli, was hit by a German torpedo when sixty miles from the Scilly Isles leaving a hole in the ship 800 feet square. On board was Frederick Birchley from Broom, a soldier in the Warwickshire Yeomanry who was drowning under bales of hay in a hold which stabled over 700 horses.

The ship was abandoned but the commanding officer decided to return to the stricken ship to release the horses’ heads and by doing so saved Birchley’s life.

The survivors, including Birchley, reached Ireland and from there continued their journey to Gallipoli where he was wounded. He recovered in time to join the Desert Mounted Corps and take part in the last cavalry charge by the British army at Huj in Palestine in November 1917. From Egypt the regiment set sail for Italy only for his ship to be hit by a torpedo with the loss of 15 officers and 78 other ranks. Birchley again survived to go on to Italy and thence to France where he was wounded for a second time in October 1918.

Torpedoed twice and wounded twice after participating in some of the bloodiest battles of the war, Birchley remarkably returned safely to Broom and later went on to get married at the age of 54.

Over two hundred servicemen from Bidford not only served in the Great War but survived and the anniversary of the end of the conflict will be marked by telling their stories and ensure that the experiences of men such as Frederick Birchley are not forgotten.

The book will be available to buy at the end of the event and the author will be on hand to sign your copy. The admission price is £5.00.

For tickets phone Mary Alexander-Head on 01789-491148 / e-mail maryahead@aol.com or Mark Shaddick on 01789 778769 / e-mail mark_shaddick@yahoo.co.uk