Family determined to remember sacrifices

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by

AUBREY Gurl was just 21 when he was killed in action during the First World War in March 1917.

After volunteering to serve with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, the young man from Headington Quarry gave his life in a French field.

The next year, his brother Cyril was also killed at the age of 21. His cousin Edward then also lost his life.

But now a few of Private Gurl’s remaining dozen great-nephews and nieces are determined to honour his memory.

His name will appear on a list of names read out tomorrow at a Turning the Pages ceremony, which honours young men from Oxfordshire killed during the two world wars.

Pte Gurl’s great-niece Edwina Humm, from Stadhampton, said: “We knew his name was on a remembrance book in the military chapel at Christ Church.

“But it wasn’t until we read in the Oxford Mail about the names being published that we found out about Turning the Pages and set about getting Uncle Aubrey in there.”

Every other month, representatives of the armed forces and families come together at Christ Church Cathedral to remember members of the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars and the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

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The tradition of reading out 20 names has been going on for decades.

People previously honoured include the father and brother of Bond author Ian Fleming, brothers killed within days of each other and five men killed in rearguard action to Dunkirk.

Last year, the Oxford Mail started publishing the names of men being read out in the hope it will allow families of those killed to know they are being recognised in this way.

Mrs Humm said: “It is important for the family and for my cousin Norman, who at 71 is the eldest of the grandchildren with the Gurl name, that he is remembered.

“We’ll be going along to pay our respects.”

Pt Gurl was killed in action on March 3, 1917. He is buried at the Hem Farm Military Cemetery in Hem-Monacu and is listed on a stone plaque in Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry.

The Turning the Pages ceremony will take place in the military chapel at Christ Church Cathedral, St Aldate’s, Oxford, at 11am tomorrow.

  • Do you know any of the other names on this list? Call reporter Rhianne Pope on 01865 425411.

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