Thursday, 8 November 2018

The Fallen Remembered by John Chandler

At the end of the First World War, the Great War as it was then called, various ways of acknowledging the huge sacrifice made by so many of our service personnel were inaugurated.   For the most part these took the form of a Cross in a prominent place in towns and villages, often a churchyard as in Natland.  The names of all those who made the supreme sacrifice were eligible to be included on their local War Memorial. 
The Memorial Cross plus plaques.
However, this was sometimes where the problems began. Did the hero, who most probably lay in a corner of a  foreign field, have his name (it usually was he) engraved on the memorial where he was born, where he grew up, where he enlisted, where his family now lived or where a local committee agreed it could appear? 
This could mean that the fallen did not have their name recorded anywhere, if the local committee did not agree, or the family had moved on.  Or sometimes the opposite could be the case that the name was recorded more than once, the record is believed to be seventeen appearances on different war memorials.
The Original Plaque

The names on the original War Memorial of St. Mark’s Church were of six local men:
Alexander Cragghill, Thomas Elleray, John Gilbert Fallowfield, James Francis Inman, John Edward Inman, George Ernest Howard Keesey.
Follow this link to find out more about them.

The New Plaque
However, there are eleven other names associated with St. Mark's Church, Natland and Oxenholme who have been added by the addition of a new plaque: Reuben Blakeman, George Davies, John Hudson, Henry Keenan, Michael McGrath, Herbert Nixon, Frederick James Paget, James William Rooksby, Charles Reginald Spratt, Lewis Edward Watson, Thomas Young.  Follow this link to find out more about them.
With the exception of Herbert Nixon and Michael McGrath the names listed were, during the pre-war period,  "inmates" (that is what they were called) at the Institution St. Mark's Home for Waifs and Strays. 
Gathering information on any of them has not been easy as tracing their backgrounds has been difficult.  Keenan, McGrath and Paget are all known or believed to be on Memorials elsewhere.  Nixon and Spratt are not believed to be on any Memorial.  It is not known if Blakeman, Davies, Hudson, Rooksby, Watson and Young have their names on any memorial other than Natland.  Some "inmates" were sent to Canada and consequently were "inmates" at a sister home in Canada.  Many will have joined the Canadian Forces.

More details of each of the above can be found in a red book at the rear of Church along with details of many who survived.