A plaque dedicated to the memory of the first Tunbridge Wells resident to be killed in the First World War has been unveiled.
On Wednesday, August 6, the day marking the centenary of Private William Vidler’s death the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Councillor Julian Stanyer revealed the plaque that is the first of a new series in the borough.
It was presented to Chief petty officer Ian Chappell, and Mrs Lisa Chappell who are the current residents of Private Vidler’s family home in Nelson Road, Hawkenbury.
The ceremony was watched by members of the Vidler family, including his great great nephew, Gareth Vidler and distant relative, Gary Vidler who made contact with the family for the first time after reading about Private Vidler on a historian’s blog.
Dad-of-two, Gareth who attended the ceremony with his mother and nephew, said: “It was amazing to meet Gary and find out that we had the same Grandfather many years ago, he has now sent me a family tree displaying 5000 different Vidlers so it will be interesting to look further into it.
“The Chapell’s were really excited to have this plaque on their home as Ian is a military man himself.”
Private Vidler joined the marines in 1907, aged just 17 and served in many campaigns but lost his life when he went down with the very first Royal Navy ship to be sunk.
He died on August 6, 1914, two days after Britain declared war on Germany whilst serving on HMS Amphion which struck an enemy mine killing around 150 British sailors.
The plaque is funded by the Tunbridge Wells Heritage Partnership Grant Scheme, a joint initiative by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society.