The Names on our War Memorials
This article was orginally published in the January 2016 issue of the local magazine, the Box River News. It describes a project the purpose of which is to remember in prayer all of the men whose names appear on the war memorials of the Box River Benefice.
Each month following it is intended to publish an update on the project in the magazine. If you scroll to the bottom of this page you will find links to these updates as they appear or click here to move directly to them.
I always have made a point of reading to myself the names appearing on the Roll of Honour in any church that we visit. It is, in a way, a private act of gratitude for those who gave up their own lives in the service of their Country. However, the many events, both nationally and locally, that took place in August 2014, associated with centennial commemoration of the start of the First World War in 1914, led me to look anew at the War Memorials in the villages of the Box River Benefice. In addition, the excellent series of articles by Tina Loose, published in the Box River News during 2014, placed the events of the War in a local context and made many connections to familiar names and places.
Commemoration of past events is all about dates, particularly so when it is a significant anniversary such as 100 years. Of the five War Memorials in our villages only that at Little Waldingfield includes the date of the death of the individuals named, and even there it is only the year. This led me to begin some research to try and put an actual date of death to all of the 91 men commemorated on the five Memorials. There is much information available on various web sites, including the Roll of Honour (www.roll-of-honour.com), the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (www.cwgc.org), Forces War Records (www.forces-war-records.co.uk), and there are useful local publications such as the commendable Little Waldingfield Our Village History from 1840 to 2014, published by the Little Waldingfield History Society.
During this work the idea gradually formed in my mind that it would be fitting to remember each individual as near as possible to the one hundredth anniversary of their death in the church of the village where their name is recorded on the War Memorial. So, after discussing this thought with Revd. Judith we are putting the following arrangements in place.
Each church has at least one 09:30 or 11:00 service each month, and at the service nearest each of the anniversaries in the month, Revd. Judith will include in her prayers, by name, those who died. In addition, we will put in each church a folder, into which will be placed at the time, a copy of the official Commonwealth War Graves Commission Certificate which states the individual’s name, rank, service number, the battalion and regiment in which they served, their age where known, and the location of their grave where known. It may also include some very brief biographical details.
However, we have, of course, missed the anniversaries of those who died in 1914 and 1915, 18 in all. Since the next anniversary is not until February 1916, during the month of January Revd. Judith will remember those 18 souls in the appropriate service and church. Thereafter, this pattern of remembrance will repeat through the following years until all the names have been recalled in prayer and their Certificates have been set alongside their fellow villagers in the folders.
Despite extensive research, I am still unable to idenity one name on the War Memeorial at Edwardstone, and that is Frederick Grainger. If there are people reading this article who can help identify this man, please do get in touch. It would be good to know that all of those from our villages who gave up their lives for our tomorrows in that dreadful War will have been fittingly recalled in prayer over the coming four years. However, if at the end of 2018 Frederick remains unidentified, he will be included with the very last name on our list, Charles Herbert Sparrow, of Brook Hall, Boxford, who died so far from home on 6th January 1919 in Egypt.
Lastly, just out of interest, does anyone know why the framed manuscript Roll of Honour in Newton church has different names and spellings for some individuals as compared to the War Memorial and does not include five of the names which appear on the Memorial?
In the first instance, please contact Revd. Judith, by email or letter only please, and she will pass on any information directly to me.