The life story of a soldier killed during one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War will be told in a special display at a pub yards from his family home.
The story of Private Bertie Dinelli was unearthed by keen battlefield photographer Andrew Holmes.
Mr Holmes had been researching the link between the First World War and Colliers Wood, a pursuit which took him to Belgium this summer.
He and his wife Diane patiently tracked down the graves of some of the Colliers Wood soldiers who had fought during the battle of the Somme, and were buried near where they were staying in Longueval.
But it wasn’t until pub manager David Griffin asked him for images for a Remembrance Sunday display at the pub that he dug them out again and discovered one of them had lived streets away from the very pub he drank in.
Research revealed Pt Dinelli lived right opposite his local at 2 Marlborough Road, Colliers Wood with his parents.
Mr Holmes said: "I did say to David, there was a chance that, given the location of his parents’ and his age there was a possibility that he would have drunk in the pub at the time." said Andrew.
"Unless Bertie was a member of a temperance movement, there is a possibility he would have had a drink in the Red Lion (now called The Provenance). Obviously we will never know this for definite."
The pictures on display at The Provenance pub, as part of a Poppy Appeal, include rows of white gravestones, a memorial to soldiers which reads "Their name liveth for evermore," and the iconic scene of fields of poppies.
"We’ve had such a positive reaction to the display," said Mr Griffin. "They’re all beautifully mounted so even when we sell them we will make sure the whole collection is kept up here on the window until Remembrance Sunday is over."
Alongside the display is a short biography of Pt Dinelli accompanied by a picture of him in uniform. While Andrew’s prints are for sale, this particular picture will remain at the pub, a memento of the local hero.
Fallen soldiers' stories
Colliers Wood resident Private Bertie Frith Dinelli was part of the 8th Battalion Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment).
The 8th Battalion Queen’s suffered heavy casualties at Loos in 1915; and then went on to fight at the Battle of the Somme which took place from July 1 to November 18, 1916.
Pt Dinelli was reported missing on September 6, 1916 aged 38 in Deville Wood. The 8th Battalion went on to fight in the Third Battle of Ypres, and distinguished themselves in the German offensive of 1918.
Pt Dinelli’s body was not discovered until after the Armistice in 1918, once found it was reburied in the London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval, Somme where it remains to this day.
He was the son of Paul and Ellen Dinelli of Malborough Road in Colliers Wood.
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