The Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest of the First World War. It began on the 1st July 1916, with 100,000 men sent over the top towards the German lines. The assault tactic was untested one – and resulted in extensive loss of life.
Norman Woodgate Joseph Blows was born in Richmond in 1895 and baptised at St. John the Divine. He quickly followed in the footsteps of his brother Harold, who had enlisted with the Queen Victoria’s Rifles in June 1914. Norman enlisted with the 4th London Brigade, who were committed to supporting the Somme offensive on the 1st July 1916. Norman was among the almost 20,000 who were lost on this first day.
St John the Divine on Kew Road displays the wooden cross which once stood over Norman’s initial resting place in France.