Sunday, November 09, 2008

Lest We Forget

Today is Remembrance Sunday - the nearest Sunday to November 11th (Armistice Day, when the First World War ended) and the day on which Britain remembers its war dead. Every city, town and village in the country has its war memorial, listing the names of those who died in the First and Second World Wars. The lists of names are long, particularly for the First World War. Today wreaths of poppies were laid at them all, and a two minute silence kept.

My father and all his family came from the village of Stewkley, Buckinghamshire. Courtesy of the Roll of Honour website, here are the names of those from the village who lost their lives. The population in the early 20th century was a little over 1,000. In the First World War thirty young men were killed, and a further six in the Second. Heartbreaking.

First World War

  • Albert Ashpool, killed in action May 1915 (aged 21)
  • Arthur Beasley, killed in action November 1917
  • W.J.Beasley (no information)
  • George Russell Cannings, killed in action September 1916 (aged 30)
  • Fred E. Cheshire, died of wounds December 1917
  • William John Cheshire, killed in action June 1917 (aged 35)
  • Harry Dickens, died in United Kingdom January 1915 (aged 18)
  • Albert Richard Hall, died 14 November 1918 - three days after Armistice (aged 38)
  • William Hogston, died in United Kingdom September 1917 (aged 20)
  • Claude Cressy Horsley, died of wounds November 1917 (aged 35)
  • William George Illing, killed in action July 1916 (aged 21)
  • Leonard Keen, killed in action November 1914 (aged 31)
  • Sidney Keen, killed in action July 1916
  • Chester Winterbon Kilby, killed in action March 1918 (aged 35)
  • Henry Knight, killed in action August 1915
  • Arthur William Mead, died September 1916 (aged 20)
  • Bertram Frederick Mead, killed in action August 1917 (aged 21)
  • John Mead, killed in action April 1918 (aged 26)
  • Albert Edward Moxon, killed in action February 1918 (aged 19)
  • Frederick Pitkin, died in South Africa, November 1916
  • George Roadknight, killed in action, October 1915
  • J. Smith (no information)
  • Bruce Swinton Smith-Masters M.C., killed in action July 1916 (aged 24)
  • George Arthur Smith-Masters, killed in action, August 1915 (aged 20) - brother of Bruce
  • Frederick Thomas Stonhill, killed in action, March 1917 (aged 29)
  • George Syrett, died July 1919 (aged 24)
  • William Syrett, died September 1918
  • William H.Syrett, died June 1920 (aged 27)
  • Percy William Tofield, killed in action August 1916 (aged 24)
  • John Henry Willis, killed in action April 1918
Second World War
  • Raymond Ivor Brewer, died September 1940 (aged 25)
  • Theodore Frederick Faulkner, died March 1943 (aged 42)
  • Edward James Jones, died July 1944 (aged 22)
  • Leonard James Mead, died June 1943 (aged 23)
  • Eric Ernest Robinson, died October 1944 (aged 23)
  • F.A.Wilson (no information)
Three of the First World War casualties died after the end of the war. George and William Syrett, who died in 1919 an 1920, both originally served in the Royal Army Service Corps and subsequently transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers. I wonder why and where they died?

For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon

1 comment:

Jennifer F. said...

Wow, touching post.

Discovering your blog makes me want to visit England, BTW. I've been to London once but never got out of the city. A lot of my ancestors were English so I'd love to see our "home" land.