Police colleagues pay tribute to soldier 100 years on

Date published: 24 May 2018 12:13
Dated: 24 May 2018 13:10:04

A group of thoughtful police colleagues have travelled to France to pay tribute to former Sheffield City Police officer and fallen WW1 soldier, Serjeant Francis Bark, to commemorate the centenary of his death.

You may remember in 2016 we asked for the public’s help to piece together the story of Serjeant Francis Bark after we found his military medal at our HQ. We had an overwhelming response from people contacting us with information and this helped us discover the fascinating story of Francis.

Francis sadly died in the First World War in May 1918 at the age of 26, after going to the aid of a comrade in an artillery attack that caused the release of gas.  

In 2016, while on annual leave, Gary and Marie Allen, from our Crime Training Department visited Francis’ grave in Northern France, to pay their respects and lay a wreath on behalf of the force. This year they returned to Francis’ grave along with a group of serving officers, police staff, retired police officers and their families, in their own time, to hold a Service of Remembrance to commemorate the centenary of his death.

The service commenced at 11am and included a two minutes silence, the reading of poems, one of which was a poem written for Francis by DC Karen Cocker, and the laying of a wreath.

A note written by Marie on the wreath read: “Francis, we have returned with friends to honour the day of your death 100 years ago. This Service of Remembrance is for you. You are our colleague and you will never be forgotten. Friends of Francis Bark, South Yorkshire Police.”

Marie said: "There were many emotional tears during this service. Francis was a very brave man and received his Military Medal in 1917. He died of wounds following gas inhalation trying to save his colleagues. This tells us that Francis was a brave and conscientious police officer as well as a soldier. He is a credit to our force. Francis would have suffered due to the gas inhalation and died in pain, one hundred years later we stretched out our arms to Francis and held him during his time of need. He truly will never be forgotten as all 12 of us left Pernes Commonwealth War Cemetery touched by this man's selflessness and commitment to save lives. The very essence of a good police officer."

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