In 1992, two Peterborough men, Roger Negus and David Gray, completed a journey which had begun in 1916 and will forever link the Cambridgeshire City of Peterborough and the French town of Albert, on the Somme, France.
In 1916 a young soldier, Private 30046, Cecil Harry Buckingham, of the Bedfordshire Regiment, walked in to the war ravaged and ruined Basilica in Albert (pictured) and amongst the rubble he discovered a torn and battered oil painting. He rescued the painting, entitled ‘The Road to Calvary’ rolled it up and placed it in his back pack, eventually sending it back to England. When Private Buckingham came home at the end of the war he became a vicar, eventually moving to Peterborough, and kept the picture until his death in 1988.
His widow, Nell Buckingham, then presented the painting to Roger Negus, Secretary of the Soke Military Society . After this, Roger, together with the club Treasurer, David Gray, travelled to Albert in February 1992 to return the picture to the rebuilt church.
The picture, or as the French called it ‘Tableau,’ was not of any great monetary value, but to the people of Albert, as one of the few remaining items in existence from the days before the Basilica was destroyed, it was priceless.