School trip re­vealed fam­ily’s war he­roes

Al­bie, 14, finds sec­ond great great un­cle killed in the First World War

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­

USU­ALLY it is the par­ents’ duty to teach their chil­dren about their fam­ily his­tory.

But one fa­ther re­ceived a les­son in his an­ces­try from his son, who learned about a rel­a­tive who died in the First World War dur­ing a school trip.

Now the late Pri­vate Wil­liam Pev­er­ill’s name will be in­scribed along­side his brother John’s on the Hare­field War Memo­rial – re­unit­ing the sib­lings after nearly a cen­tury.

Mike Pev­er­ill, the brothers’ great nephew, was in­vited to at­tend the cer­e­mony yes­ter­day (Tues­day) along with some of his fam­ily.

He said: “I only found out that two of my great un­cles died dur­ing the First World War in June as a re­sult of a school trip that my 14-yearold son Al­bie took.

“The teacher lead­ing the trip in­vited all the chil­dren tak­ing part to find out if any of their rel­a­tives were buried in the bat­tle­fields area and it was then that we dis­cov­ered that Wil­liam was buried in Hébuterne Mil­i­tary Ceme­tery in France.

“The itin­er­ary of the his­tory trip was al­tered to al­low Al­bie to visit Hébuterne so he could visit Wil­liam’s grave and lay some flow­ers.”

The fam­ily learned that Wil­liam Pev­er­ill had grown up in Hare­field be­fore be­com­ing a pri­vate in the Bri­tish Army’s Mid­dle­sex Reg­i­ment (Duke of Cam­bridge’s Own) and was killed in France aged 18.

They dis­cov­ered that Wil­liam’s older brother John was also a pri­vate in the same reg­i­ment and died nine months later, in 1917, aged 22.

His grave is in Hare­field church­yard and his name is al­ready on the Hare­field War Memo­rial.

Hilling­don Coun­cil agreed to add Wil­liam’s name to the memo­rial after Mike con­tacted them.

Mike, 51, who was born in Hare­field and now lives in Not­ting­ham, is ap­peal­ing for mem­bers of the pub­lic to con­tact him with any in­for­ma­tion about his fam­ily.

His great un­cles came from a fam­ily of nine chil­dren and lived in the area over sev­eral gen­er­a­tions.

Their sib­lings were El­iz­a­beth, Lily, Abel – Mike’s grand­fa­ther – Henry, Emily, Alice and Frank.

They are recorded in the 1911 Cen­sus as hav­ing lived at 28 Kings Cot­tages, which is no longer there but stood on Moorhall Road, near the canal.

Call Mike on 07505 403133, or email m.pev­er­ill@ntl­

At the same time as Mr Pev­er­ill’s name is added, paving plaques to com­mem­o­rate two Vic­to­ria Cross re­cip­i­ents from Hare­field – Robert Ed­ward Ry­der VC and Ce­cil John Kin­ross VC – will be laid at the memo­rial.

n POIGNANT VISIT: Al­bie Pev­er­ill, 14, laid flow­ers at the grave of his rel­a­tive Wil­liam Pev­er­ill, who died in the First World War, in Hébuterne, France

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