'Heroes Of Chiswick' Exhibition Unites Family
Cousins meet for the first time at St Michael's on Remembrance Sunday
Two cousins whose relatives were killed in WW1 have met each other for the first time as a result of the Heroes of Chiswick exhibition at St Michael's Church, Elmwood Road.
Sallie Vallins, niece of brothers Leslie and Frank Coombs, who were parisioners of St Michael's and who lost their lives in action at the Battle of the Somme in 1916, met a second cousin of hers, Hugh Bailey, for the first time at the Remembrance Service at the church on Sunday (9 November).
Sallie and Hugh’s maternal grandmothers were sisters. Hugh, when browsing the web, came across the Heroes of Chiswick website where he found details of his relatives Leslie and Frank Coombs.
Frank Coombs, London Rifle Brigade, top left of pic
He also found mention of the boys’ niece Sallie Vallins, who had been contacted by the project researchers. Hugh said : ‘Looking at some old family records, I found I have a photo of Sallie with her brother, father and grandmother.’
He sent a copy of a photograph of Charles Coombs with two of his four sons to St Michael’s vicar, Revd Martine Oborne. Charles Coombs and his family moved to Chiswick in 1911 and he soon became a Churchwarden at the recently built and consecrated St Michael’s.
As a result of the connection made through the exhibition researchers, Hugh and his wife attended the Remembrance Service at the church and met Sallie for the first time.
Heroes of Chiswick was researched by the local team and community, over many months and schoolchildren also became involved combing archives and historical databases to find the stories behind the thirty-three men from the parish who died in the Great War. The exhibition ended last Sunday.
Sallie and John Vallins, descendants of the Coombs brothers who died in the war
The Heroes of Chiswick project was funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund's First World War: Then and Now Centenary programme.
November 11, 2014