Just after the Whit Soc AGM, Karen Wright suggested that we might undertake a project such as the one in the Northants village where her grandfathers had lived and gone to fight and where one is commemorated on the War Memorial.
Within the many Whittlesford Society publications over the years, there has been all sorts of material referring to various aspects of this period in the village. It was when assembling this for a follow up discussion that the staggering fact struck home – ONE HUNDRED Whittlesford men actually left the village to fight in 1914 – 1918.
We have the names and previously researched brief details about the fifteen men listed on the War Memorial who lost their lives. But what about the other EIGHTY FIVE who returned ? Who were they and what happened to them before and after ? What of the tremendous impact it must have had on the compact and close knit little village community that it was then !
So the idea crystallised for a project based around them :
THE WHITTLESFORD ONE HUNDRED AND THE IMPACT ON THIS VILLAGE OF WORLD WAR ONE.
It was opportune and appropriate that it was at the parish meeting and in the very hall, established in memory of those who served in 1914-18 – that we mooted this project and asked for the interest and involvement of the whole village in it.
We are appealing for photographs, letters, documents, medals or any kind of memorabilia of the period, especially from those whose families lived in the village then, many of whom still bear their families names. Can they also give any clues about where local residents at the time and their kin may have moved on to, any other contacts, who may have similar material – and family memories and legends about those who went to war and about what it was like for those who had to carry on at home.
It’s not just those with long Whittlesford associations whom we need to be involved. There’s masses to do in planning various elements of the project and gathering the facts about those one hundred men – from all sorts of sources like the census, parish, military and other records and directories – and the more who share in the work, the more quickly it will progress and the more other material and useful leads will be thrown up.
Researching and seeking information about people who were NOT part of Whitlesford’s story will also be valuable because the entire Whittlesford output – and individual local contributions can all be linked in the massive, computer based Eight Million Lives project being co-ordinated nationally by the IWM.
Anyone interested …… Please make contact with us, individually or on behalf of village bodies with records going back that far. We hope to arrange a meeting in July to peruse ideas further.