A MAN marched 16 miles through heavy rain for charity while wearing a First World War uniform.
John Green, 79, from Maidensgrove, was among 200 people who took part in the Great March in Nottinghamshire on Sunday. He raised £1,000 for the Henley and Peppard branch of the Royal British Legion, of which he is chairman.
The walk from Newark to Radcliffe along the River Trent was held to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the conflict.
Mr Green’s father William marched the same route a century ago with the Sherwood Foresters battalion before heading off to fight. Many of those who took part at the weekend were either cadets or current or former servicemen and their relatives.
The group assembled in Newark market place for a drumhead service before two marching bands escorted them out of the town. It poured with rain as soon as they set off, so Mr Green’s olive-green woollen tunic and trousers soaked up the water and grew heavy.
He said: “There was light rain during the service but once we started the skies really opened. It was like sheets of water. We were all soaked to the skin but there was still a great atmosphere among the group. When the sun came out again there was steam rising off us.
“The walk was quite demanding but in many ways it was easier than if it had been incredibly hot.
“With every step I was reliving in my mind what my father would have gone through before reaching the horrors of the trenches. At the time none of those young men knew what lay ahead of them for the next few years. They were full of enthusiasm and thought it would all be over by Christmas.”
The rain let up after four hours but the group did not arrive in Radcliffe for another two. As they made their way through the town, hundreds of people lined the streets to cheer them on. They enjoyed a civic reception at the town hall where they were presented with commemorative medals. Each bore a photograph of the original 1914 parade that Mr Green’s father took part in.
William Green fought from 1915 to 1918 and reached the rank of captain. He was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in his first year of action and the Military Cross two years later.
He was gassed by chlorine and wounded three times, the final time so badly that he could no longer fight. He died in 1951, aged 56, of heart failure exacerbated by his injuries.
His son also served in the Sherwood Foresters for three years as part of his National Service.
Mr Green said: “People were very curious about my uniform and very interested in my father’s story. They were coming up to me all through the day and I was very happy to explain the significance.
“It has really captured people’s imagination and I’ve had a lot of donations from the public. I’m very thankful for everyone’s generosity.”