Friday, 1 October 2010

Meemorial lines


Something that came to my mind after reading Lyn Macdonald's 1915: The Death of Innocence (see previous post) is that a war memorial, often with the names listed of the local dead, features in every town and village in the entire United Kingdom. It's such a commonplace that we tend to take it for granted and only fully register its presence at Remembrance time.

I've been wondering if there were any communities which did not erect war memorials, on the grounds that all their World War I servicemen returned unscathed and there were no dead to commemorate.

It appears that there are one or two, but very few. Somebody called Arthur Mee, a sort of 1920s and 30s Mr Google, reckoned that out of the thousands of British town and villages, there were only 31 that suffered no loss. He identified some, but I can't find a complete list. Here are one or two:

Ovington, near Swaffham
Upper Slaughter, Glos.
St Michael, Suffolk
Rodney Stoke, Somerset
Mapplebeck, Notts.

I'm afraid I haven't heard of any these places. Can any readers add to the list?

The elegiac, not to say depressing, tone of the last few posts reflects my present situation, mostly prone and anguished, I'm afraid. Better days lie ahead. My colleague Nomenclator promises an inanely asinine post entitled 'Is your name Beelzebub?' in a few days' time. Or was it 'Is your name Bellygod?' I've forgotten. Anyway, nil desperandum.

8 comments:

Rog said...

Wikipedia informs us about the current situation in Ovington (pop 239):

"Currently the newsletter is The Ovington Oracle. Previously it was Ovington What's On, then in 2006 it was revamped and called What's On Ovington (WOO). Despite the exciting new format newsletter with news stories articles and features, some villagers expressed the view that it read too much like a tabloid newspaper. After 8 issues it was replaced by the Oracle."

Anyway Nil Desperandum was last week's Norwich City result.

Geoff said...

I've got Arthur Mee upstairs in the loft.

Tim Footman said...

Then there are the villages that lost just a handful of people, who were commemorated with a plaque in the church, rather than an edifice in the village square. What number was it that qualified for a standalone memorial? Or, more pertinently, which town/village has the memorial with the fewest names?

Christopher said...

Rog: Thank you. As always,top-hole info from the Swaffham Seer.

*thinks: is this where he lives? Is there such a place? Have I committed a solecism?*

Geoff: Amazing! Arthur Mee in the loft! So he must have survived the horrific supernatural maelstrom of evil that engulfed your house, while you were in the shed?

Tim: Clearly the history of the post-WW1 building of war memorials is waiting to be written. (Could you be the man?) Nothing like it had happened before: no local initiatives commemorated the dead in the Napoleonic, Crimean or Boer wars, as far as I know, except the occasional individual memorial plaque in churches. And I wonder what happened in Eire, whose independence was achieved some years after 1918: how are the dead of e.g. the Connaught Rangers commemorated?

Dave said...

Two years ago I was in Northern ireland, and visited (on my birthday, as it happens) the Somme Museum there, commemorating the three Irish regiments that fought there.

I wrote about it here: http://dave-east.blogspot.com/2008/10/dave-spends-his-birthday-reflecting.html

I'm afraid I've never visited Eire, so cannot comment further.

mig said...

I've been looking but so far I haven't found one.

Rog said...

I once flew to Amsterdam but my luggage ended up opened in Eire.

Have you started getting that back mobile again yet young Christopher?

Christopher said...

mig: I assume you're referring to villages without war memorials? Or is this something deeper?

Rog: Such a thing could only happen to you. And yes, things are slowly improving, thanks.