RESEARCH into a village's experience in the First World War has unveiled a rare connection to the conflict.

David Robertson, director of Cradley Village Players, came across the living link while gathering information for the production of poetry, prose, pictures and song entitled "From Herefordshire to the Somme".

Last night's event focused on the local heroes who fought in the war or contributed to efforts in other ways – and among the crowd were the relatives of one Cradley soldier.

Prudence Wood, who last week celebrated her 101st birthday, even retains a memory of her father, Rowland Kings.

He served in the First World War and Prudence can still remember the time he came back to her home on leave before he returned to the front line.

Enrolled in the West Riding Field Ambulance, part of the Royal Army Medical Corps, Rowland was tragically killed in action at Ancre, France in June 1918.

He was one of 26 young men from Cradley to die in the First World War.

"In a village of about 800, the loss of 26 young men must have been devastating," said Mr Robertson, who set out to find more about the lives of those lost.

He was put in touch with Prudence when her granddaughter Carolyn Hollick found out about the project.

Carolyn said: "Nan has always been interested in the family tree, she would roll out a piece of wallpaper with all the names on it, she knew the lot."

Her grandmother's memories of her father, however, are fleeting. "Nan can only remember him looking over the cot when she was little."

But through the newly found link, Mr Robertson was able to discover that Rowland's parents ran the village post office before he married Agnes, the daughter of a local quarry owner.

Hereford Times: Woodland Trust