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Across England and Wales only 53 civil parishes out of 10,479 in England are known as Thankful Villages
as they did not lose a community member in the 1st World War. The nearest to Willersey is Upper Slaughter.
Sadly Willersey is not one of them, so our War Memorial is at the entrance to St Peter's Churchyard.
It lists twelve men who died in the First World War 1914-1919 and four who died in the Second World War 1939-1945.
Our War Memorial was dedicated at a Service April 1920 so 2020 is its centenary.
First World War 1914-1919
William Samuel Byrd
Robert Walpole Harris
John Corbett Hiatt
Charles Edward Ingles
George Wilfred Jelfs
Ernest Charles Sadler
Most commemorations of the end of First World War concentrate on Armistice Day as the end of the war so it therefore lasted from 28th July 1914 until 11th November 1918.
Willersey, like many others regards the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 28th June 1919 as the end of the war. This was when the state of war between Germany and the
Allied Powers ceased and was when many of the troops serving abroad finally returned to their homes.
Second World War 1939-1945
Edward Louis Folkes
Edgar William Proctor
Commemorating 100th Aniiversary of the end of the Great War
11 o'clock on 11th November 2018 is exactly one hundred years since the end of the First World War. A war which had lasted four, terrible, long years, costing the lives of almost a million men from our Nation and Commonwealth. Willersey Parish Council has received much justified praise and thanks for procuring and siting the striking, evocative bench on Sawpit Green as a lasting commemoration for us of this awesome centenary. It complements our War Memorial at the entrance to Saint Peter's Churchyard. With visitors, I always point with pride to the name of Squadron Leader Henry Maudslay and tell them a little of this young man who died in the Second War: He set a new mile record at Eton when only 15, uniquely, he used to change out of uniform into ‘civvies’ whenever possible (despite this risking being mistaken and abused for avoiding war service). This quiet, diffident officer captained planes on numerous, bombing missions, showing such exceptional leadership that Group Captain Guy Gibson selected him as his second in command for the Dambusters Squadron. In his last letter to his mother, back home in Willersey, Henry had told her that he was prepared to give his life on that raid, if necessary. He made that sacrifice, with the rest of his crew, when they were shot down as they returned from bombing the Eder Dam. He was only 21 years old.
But Henry would not have seen his sacrifice as being any more remarkable than those of all the other sons of Willersey, recorded on our memorial. So, we should thank Nick and Michelle, who took the time and trouble to research in which units they served and where, when and how they died - so that we could remember them. Young men from families, some with names that live on in our village. A terrible number of men lost to friends and loved ones in what was a tiny community compared to now; all with the prospect, otherwise, of long and happy lives in their beautiful Cotswold Parish.
Our other Parish memorial in Saint Nicholas' churchyard, Saintbury, has been severely battered by nearly 100 years of weathering; its single upright pillar heavily eroded, its ornate, stone top with Christ Crucified in danger of dropping off and the names of the Fallen so worn as to be unreadable. We promised we would remember them; so that their name liveth forever. We must find the money to restore this lasting memorial and I hope that you will contribute to help make this happen.
In this 100th Centenary of the end of the Great War, Armistice Day falls on Remembrance Sunday. In our service we will remember and honour our Fallen; our men who left their homes, suffered hardship and made the ultimate sacrifice. That sacred Act of Remembrance is an opportunity for us to commit to living what remains of our lives in ways that honour their sacrifice and our country.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Robert McNeil Wilson, Churchwarden
Please make your donation for the restoration of the War Memorial in Saintbury Churchyard by cash, or by cheque to St. Peter's Willersey, PCC, marked “Saintbury Memorial Fund” on the back, to Judith McNeil-Wilson, PCC Treasurer, The Granary, Main Street, Willersey, WR12 7PJ
Here is some more background about those who are commemorated.
First World War 1914-1919
Second World War 1939-1945
We also remember these Willersey residents who died in the two world wars but are not commemorated on our War Memorial.
Saintbury War Memorial Commemorates
Remembrance Sunday - a day for recollection, private and public.
The end of the First World War came with Armistice Day, which is now honoured in Britain with Remembrance Day celebrations. Arms were laid down at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 1918, an arbitrary moment chosen to end the four years of turmoil that had spread across Europe, but a moment that has become embedded in everyone's consciousness since then. Remembrance Day is now an instantly recognisable date. Remembrance Sunday ever since has commemorated and celebrated the contribution to the war effort and victory made by British and Commonwealth troops, not only in the First World War but in the many conflicts, small and large since. The Queen and royal family, politicians and the man in the street all take part in marking Remembrance Sunday.
Remembrance Day falls on the second Sunday in November, the nearest Sunday to November 11th. From the main ceremonies at London's Whitehall Cenotaph to small village greens across the United Kingdom, parades and church services take place to mark Remembrance Sunday. Nations of the Commonwealth, from Australia to the other side of the globe, also hold their own Remembrance Day celebrations honouring their dead from the conflicts of the World Wars.
Wearing a red poppy is the most immediately recognisable mark of Remembrance Day. Parades and processions, ending with wreaths of poppies being laid at Cenotaphs and memorials across the length and breadth of the land are used to mark Remembrance Day. Starting at 11am. on Remembrance Day a two minute silence is held, creating an unforgettable impression when the thousands of people in London to the few score in a small village all fall silent. This silence reminds us of when the guns across Europe fell silent.
The War Memorial is designed by F.L.Griggs of Chipping Campden and was erected in 1920 by Jewson and Berkeley of South Cerney.
I'm the girl that makes the thing-ummy-bob This is the Army Mr Jones We'll meet again.
(Vera Lynn died in the morning on 18th June 2020 at 103 years old.)
A really grim reminder of the horrors of concentration camps(1937-1939).
At 11 o'clock on 11th November 2018, it was exactly one hundred years since the end of the First World War. A war which lasted four terrible, long years,
costing the lives of almost a million men from our Nation and Commonwealth. Our Remembrance Service started at 10:30am in St Peter's Church.
To commemorate the 100 years, Willersey erected a bench on Sawpit Green near the pond.
There was a Dedication of the Memorial Bench which took place at approximately 11:30am, immediately after the Remembrance Day service at St.Peter's Church.
Suitably this rainbow briefly appeared in the sky just before this dedication was read by Neville Jelfs.
It was fitting that former Royal Marine and boss of Cotswold Aspects, Jamie Clark put in the foundations for the new bench.
The tree behind the bench has this plaque near its base.
On the 80th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid, on Tuesday 16th May 2023 Willersey held two Lancaster Commemorative events with a Church Service at 4pm and a special social event at 7pm in the Village Hall to give tribute to Anthony Kayll, Henry Maudslay and Edgar Proctor.
Lancaster bomber over Willersey 2022.
The 75th anniversary of VE Day will be celebrated from 8th to 10th May 2020.
Rededication and Remembrance Service at our War Memorial on November 8th 2020.
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