A hand­ful of vil­lages had no ca­su­al­ties

Leicester Mercury - - News - By ALAN THOMP­SON alan.thomp­son01@reach­plc.com

THE mass slaugh­ter of the First World War robbed the UK of a mil­lion lives, leav­ing vir­tu­ally no part of the coun­try un­touched.

But a tiny num­ber of vil­lages which men off to war, be­came known as “thank­ful vil­lages”.

The term was coined in the 1930s by the writer Arthur Mee to de­scribe com­mu­ni­ties which suf­fered no mil­i­tary fa­tal­i­ties in the 1914-1918 con­flict.

Among them are five in Le­ices­ter­shire and a sixth in Rut­land.

They are Saxby, East Nor­ton, Stret­ton-en-le-Field, Willes­ley – which sent three men – and Wil­loughby Water­leys, plus Teigh,in Rut­land, that had 11 serv­ing men.

Mee’s na­tional list orig­i­nally stood at 32, but has now climbed to 51, or 52, de­pend­ing on dif­fer­ent sources.

John Dyson, chair­man of the East Nor­ton Parish Meet­ing said: “We weren’t iden­ti­fied as a thank­ful vil­lage un­til about 30 years ago.

“There is a me­mo­rial win­dow in All Saints Church of­fer­ing thanks for the safe re­turn of all the men from the First World War.”

Mr Dyson, who said the num­ber of men who went and came home is not known, said: “It is con­fus­ing be­cause there is a plaque in the church to men who died in the con­flict.

“But to be a thank­ful vil­lage all the men who went off to war had to have left from the vil­lage.

“While there were losses among men who were born in East Nor­ton, they had left the vil­lage, upon mar­ry­ing for ex­am­ple and so left for war from an­other vil­lage.”

East Nor­ton’s her­itage web­site en­her­itage.btck.co.uk/WW1 also notes there is a brass plaque on the church wall in mem­ory of two broth­ers who died on Ac­tive Ser­vice in the Great War.

Cap­tain John B Matthews and Cap­tain Wil­liam F Matthews had not lived in East Nor­ton, though their par­ents, Ma­jor and Mrs Matthews, had lived in Lod­ding­ton.

The web­site said: “When Ma­jor Matthews was mo­bi­lized with his Ter­ri­to­rial Bat­tal­ion, Mrs Matthews moved to a cot­tage in East Nor­ton where she lived on her own.

“On de­mo­bi­liza­tion, Ma­jor Matthews joined her there, but they soon moved, briefly to Ash­ley, and thence to We­ston-by-Wel­land.

“There is also a sol­dier com­mem­o­rated on his par­ents’ grave in All Saints church­yard.

“He is Pri­vate Fran­cis Smee­ton Glover, of 8th Bat­tal­ion, the Le­ices­ter­shire Reg­i­ment, but his record shows that he was res­i­dent at Oakham.

“Pte Glover is not buried with his par­ents at East Nor­ton.

“He has no known grave and is com­mem­o­rated on the Thiep­val Me­mo­rial to the Miss­ing of the Somme.”

Mr Dyson added: “The pop­u­la­tion of East Nor­ton to­day is just over 100, in 30 houses, but the pop­u­la­tion would have ben greater 100 years ago.”

The Rut­land Re­mem­bers web­site re­ports that on the war me­mo­rial in Holy Trin­ity Church, in Teigh, there is the name of Wil­liam Haines who was killed in the Bat­tle of the Somme.

It said: “We have Wil­liam down as com­ing from nearby Mar­ket Over­ton but it’s pos­si­ble he spent a con­sid­er­able amount of time in Teigh.”

A Royal Bri­tish Le­gion spokesman said: “The Le­gion’s pol­icy on Re­mem­brance is that we in­clude recog­ni­tion of both the ser­vice and sac­ri­fice, not only the fallen but all who put them­selves in harm’s way in the na­tion’s in­ter­est.

“We are run­ning a Thank You move­ment which recog­nises the en­tire First World War gen­er­a­tion, to all who served, sac­ri­ficed and changed our world.”

FIELD OF HOPE: Stu­dents at St Paul’s Catholic School, Leices­ter, have been mak­ing and plant­ing pop­pies

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.