Over the past 18 months I have tried to find photos of all of the men who ‘Never returned’ to Old Whittington. Some have been provided by family members, some from the Derbyshire Times records at the Local Studies Library and the remainder from the British Newspaper Archives website (https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/).
Sadly I was unable to find all of them, and some by now are understandably grainy, but the 66 I have found I have made into a collage. The one thing that stands out from the photos is just how young many of the men actually were.
If any relations of the men have photos they would like to share, the website can be updated at any time.
In Flanders Fields
by John McRae (May 1915)
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
William Wood was the last man I typed up, not the last man I researched as I have been researching several at a time, but William was a bit of a puzzle and I wanted to be as sure as I could be that all the facts were correct.
I feel fairly confident that all the information is correct, it has been cross referenced and Louise Booth, who has done the excellent research on the New Whittington memorial (where William is also remembered) has come to the same conclusion about William.
I have now finished the task I set myself 18 months ago of filling out the lives of the fallen men on the two memorials, 89 in total, who served in WW1. To make them become more than just a name etched on the memorials. Hopefully you have found the stories interesting and the men have now become real people to everyone who has followed the page. The research has been in turn interesting, sad, thought provoking but ultimately I feel immense pride for what these men did. Ordinary working men who answered the call when the country needed their help.
Unfortunately there are five men I cannot trace. I can find the names but not sufficient enough evidence to connect them with Whittington.
I have found a Wilfred Fisher from Johnson Street who won the Military Medal and died on 21.3.18. This may be the correct man and I will post his story on the webpage anyway.
If anyone has any information on these missing men or is descended from them then please get in touch.
I have just finished researching Fred Mitchell who died 30th May 1918 after serving from the start of the war in 1914.
Fred served with the Royal Engineers Waterways and Railways Troops. I have to admit I had never heard of these troops before. It was hard to pin point where in France Fred was serving but he would certainly have been involved in some heavy fighting.
I have now just one more man to write up ,William Wood, and hope to post that research over the weekend and reach my goal of completing all of the research by 11th November 2019.
Joseph Norton was assumed killed in action at the Battle of Loos on 3rd October 1915, he was 28 years old. He is commemorated on the Loos memorial. My research into Joseph’s life can be read at https://oldwhittingtonops.com/norton-joseph/
He is remembered on the Old Whittington and Brushes War memorials.