New road name connects Tonbridge with Somme village

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World War One connections between Tonbridge and a small community in northern France are to be commemorated with a new road naming.

Resident Pam Mills had researched the town’s links with the village of Thiepval, where hundreds of West Kent soldiers lost their lives during the battle of the Somme.

After the war ended, Tonbridge formed a link with Thiepval, sending funds to help rebuild the war-torn village and reconnect its water supply.

Mrs Mills, whose great uncle died fighting at the Somme, discovered a delegation from Kent was sent over to Thiepval in the 1920s to offer further support.

She has been campaigning for a means of marking the historic ties between the two places and Redrow Homes in Tonbridge has agreed to help.

Thiepval Drive is to be one of the road names on the new Somerhill Green housing development.

Mrs Mills said: “We’re so pleased that Redrow has agreed to do this. It is something that should be remembered and embraced, and achieving this road-naming shows what can be done when people in Tonbridge get together.”

Mrs Mills found exploring the town’s wartime history a fascinating process and said it had shown how people in the area were willing to help and support other communities in times of great need.

Mrs Mills added that Cllr Sophie Shrubsole of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, who helped with the road-naming, had also assisted in setting up a visit to France on October 24 to the World War One memorial at Thiepval.

Mrs Mills said: “I’m hoping that we can form a friendship circle with the village.”

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