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William Slarks Vidler

William Slarks Vidler 1885 – 1914

William and Annie Vidler are buried together in Tunbridge Wells Cemetery. They were brother and sister; 2 of the 9 children of William Vidler and Mary Jane Slarks, also buried at Hawkenbury.

William was William and Mary's 4th son. He was born in October 1885 in Brenchley and joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI) aged 17. The family lived in Walmer Villa, 55 Nelson Road, Hawkenbury and he was known in Tunbridge Wells as a footballer.

On 6 August 1914, aged 28, he was serving on HMS Amphion which struck a mine and sunk near the Thames Estuary. Along with nearly 150 other men, he was killed. He became the first man in Tunbridge Wells to be killed in the Great War and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. The town was shocked at the loss. A lady who called to offer her condolences to his family found the house already full with sympathisers.

The insignia of the RMLI and the Latin motto 'per mare, per terram' meaning 'by sea, by land' are included on the headstone.

By Emma Vidler

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