Remembrance poppy for war           

  Willersey War Memorial  

and Memorial Bench

           Remembrance poppy for war

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Willersey War Memorial at the entrance to St Peter's Churchyard

Willersey War Memorial

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
Henry Andrews
William Samuel Byrd
Albert Daffurn
Robert Walpole Harris
Percy Hensley
John Corbett Hiatt
Charles Edward Ingles
George Wilfred Jelfs
Arthur Sadler
Ernest Charles Sadler
Thomas Sadler
Frank Wilkins

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
Anthony Kayll
Henry Maudslay
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

Pte Harry Andrews
12106, 5th Bn. Kings Shropshire Light Infantry
Born at Ivy Cottage March 1890
Son of Thomas and Harriett Andrews. Enlisted 3rd September 1914
Died on 9th April 1917 at Arras
Buried at the Military Cemetry, Arras.

Pte William Samuel Byrd
10044, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Born in Willersey 1885
Eldest Son Mr & Mrs Samuel Byrd of Littlecote, Enlisted end of 1914
Died at age 32 from war wounds received in action on 7th March 1917
Buried at Barlin Communal Cemetery.

Pte Albert Daffurn
118 Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (Eastern Ontario Regiment)
Born in Broadway 1869
Son of Charles & Mary Daffurn
Killed in action 8th May 1915
Commemorated on Menin Gate Memorial and also on the Roll of Honour at St Michael's Church, Broadway

Pte Robert Walpole Harris
13292, 12th Bn. Gloucestershire Regiment
Son of Edward & Lucy A. Harris of Willersey.
Died on 13th October 1916 aged 16
Buried at Etaples Military Cemetery.

Pte Percy Joseph Hensley
11038, 11th Service Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Born in Broadway 1885
Married Helinor Emma Maunders at St Peter's in 1911.
Diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1916 and discharged.
Died in 1917 aged 32
Buried in Willersey Churchyard.

Pte John Corbett Hiatt
16331, 15th Bn. Warwickshire Regiment
Son of William Lionel & Charlotte Ann Hiatt of Upper Swell.
Died on 14th September 1916 aged 22
Buried at Bois-Guillaume Communal Cemetery.

Pte George Wilfred Jelfs
10046, 11th Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Son of William and Georgina Jelfs of Willersey. Enlisted December 1914
Died on 23rd April 1917 aged 20
Buried at Sunken Road Cemetery, Fampoux - Ref: I.A. 19.

Pte Sergeant Charles Edward Ingles
16111, 11th Bn. Worcestershire Regiment
Son of Thomas and Sarah Sorrell Ingles ( née Newbury ) of Willersey
Killed in action at Salonika on 10th April 1918 aged 32
Buried at Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece.
Lived at School house, Willersey and later at 5 Church Street.
Five brothers and four sisters.

Pte Arthur Sadler
27277, 3rd Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Son of Arthur and Mary Joyce ( née Hancock)
Brother of Grace Elsie, Dennis, Myra Joyce and Miriam.
Born 1895. Died on 22nd March 1918 aged 23
No known grave but commemorated on Bay 6 of the Arras Memorial, France.

Pte Ernest Charles Sadler
Guardsman, 2nd Bn. Coldstream Guards.
Son of Charles and Martha Sadler. Cousin to Thomas.
Born 1899. Died on 13th April 1918 aged 19

Pte Thomas Sadler
10042 19th Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Son of William and Mary Sadler who lived near the Methodist Chapel.
Brother of Mary Ann, Emma, Kate, William, Annie and Lucy.
Born 1894. Died on 30th July 1916 aged 22 at the Battle of the Somme.
Name recorded on the Thiepval Memorial in France.
Family grave in Willersey Churchyard.

Pte ‘Frank’ Jacob Payton Francis Wilkins
138723 75th Bn. Canadians
Son of Jacob Payton Wilkins and Sarah Hemmimgs Ingles who lived in Spring Cottage, Willersey.
Born 20th July 1881. Died 13th October 1916 Killed in Action in France.

Second World War 1939-1945

S.B. Att Edward Louis Folkes
Sick Berth Attendant Royal Navy D/MX 65400 on
Royal Fleet Auxiliary Hospital Ship Maine
Died on War Service 7th December 1941
Burial: Alexandria (Hadra) War Cemetery,
Al Iskandariyah, Egypt Plot: 2. H. 4.

Flight Lieutenant Anthony George Randall Kayll
121553 156 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Born in Evesham in May 1920.
Youngest son of Norman Addison Kayll and Helen Nesbitt of Willersey.
Died on War Service 27th April 1944 aged 24.
Buried Zondert, Netherlands

Squadron Leader Henry Eric Maudslay DFC
Born in Leamington Spa on July 21st 1921.
Son of Reginald Walter Maudslay and his wife Susan Gwendolen.
Youngest of the Dam Buster pilots. His plane ED937 Z crashed and exploded at 02.30 hrs on the morning of
17th May 1943. His family home was Foxhill Manor in the nearby Farncombe Estate.
The crew of Lancaster ED937 Z are buried in the Reichswald Forrest Cemetery in Western Germany.
Do look at here, here and here if you wish to know more.

Flight Sergeant Edgar William Proctor
B Flight 40 Middle East Squadron and 44 Rhodesia Squadron.
Born in Willersey on August 25th 1921.
Killed in Action 22nd January 1944 aged 22.
Buried in Berlin Heerstrasse British Military Cemetery.
Do look here for a more detailed biography.

We also remember these Willersey residents who died in the two world wars but are not commemorated on our War Memorial.

Anthony Hotine Rakesh Chahhan Darren Hicks
Gerrint Roberts Sidney Thomas William Cake
Reginald Plumley Walter Madley Prestage James McNeil
    John Edward McClaren    

Saintbury War Memorial Commemorates

Walter Castle William Hopkins Gerald Hinton
Howard Munn Philip Nason Frederick Dyde

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.

Willersey War Commemorative Bench

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.

Rainbow at Willersey seat dedication

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 crew Remembrance May 2023

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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