Saturday, 3 October 2009

Bere Ferrers tragedy remembered

The Bere Peninsula in West Devon lies between the River Tavy and River Tamar and being a long peninsula seems to have that other world feeling where time (almost) stands still. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the sweet little village of Bere Ferrers which is almost at its southern toe, close to but disconnected from, other than by the railway, the hustle and bustle of Plymouth.

It was the aforementioned railway though that was to feature in an appalling tragedy on the 24th September 1917. The story is well documented and rather than me repeat it again I'll give a link in a moment. Don't be put off by the one paragraph style (why do people do that?) because the narrative is comprehensive and there are some good photos to round it off. Anyway the link is here.

Exactly ninety two years on from this freak accident a short ceremony took place at the Bere Ferrers war memorial. This came about as a result of a request from the New Zealand Army Museum (their website is here) because the museum is trying to identify servicemen from their country buried in Devon and Cornwall.

Visit Bere Ferrers today and it is difficult to comprehend such a tragedy occurring. Long gone are the times when express trains would thunder through its station, now it's just the gentle plodding of the diesel units on the branch line between Plymouth and Gunnislake. Bere Ferrers is a proper village community - I can recommend its annual pantomime in its cosy little village hall - but the folk there will never forget that horrific event on the afternoon of 24 September 1917.

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