During the 10 am Holy Communion Service on Sunday 29th May 2016, the congregation at St Michael’s Church will be remembering the first man on the Roll of Honour to lose his life, 100 years ago this year, in 1916.
Geoffrey Damarel Gidley was born on 9th May 1896 the son of George Gidley, a tailor, and Annie Maud Gidley (nee Sharp). By 1913, Geoffrey, then 16, was living with his family at 10 Burnaby Gardens, having moved from Shepherd’s Bush. George Gidley was a sidesman at St Michael’s.
Geoffrey enlisted with Queen Victoria’s Rifles (QVR) in September 1914 and rose to the rank of Corporal. He entered France on 17 August 1915, but owing to his skill in training men was kept at base until about a week before his death. In fact he had only been in the firing line a few hours when a shell struck his rough dug-out, injuring him very severely. He was able to be moved to a clearing station, but died of his wounds the same day. Geoffrey is buried in Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No 1.
To read Geoffrey Gidley's biography and those of the other 33 men on the memorial inside St Michael's Church, click here