Collingham delivers on a WW1 proposal, 100 years later.
Updated: Oct 28
On a recent trip north, we stopped off at Collingham, the home of my Yorkshire Brougham ancestors, to give my beloved Border Collie some exercise and have a welcome break from the car. My previous visit would have been 15 years earlier with my father as we tried to uncover our Brougham Family History. As we walked round the village, I was fascinated to see lots of blue discs on houses and street signs stating who lived there during WW1.
On my return from holiday, I wanted to find out more. I initially found their Facebook page. A major piece of research, led by Diana Lee and Alan Berry, set out to find out who lived in the village during WW1. There had been a plaque in the church and a war memorial that named the 16 men that had gone to war but never returned. The question was asked though, what about the rest of the village, who were they and what were they doing? A project was begun to find out more as part of the centenary activities to mark the end of the Great War. The project also included research into the neighbouring village of Lintern.
George Stanley Saville was born in 1898 in Raskelf, near Easingwold, the eldest son of Tom and Lily Louise Saville. By the age of thirteen he was living with his parents, brother, Charles, and sister, Dorothy, in Scarborough where his father worked as a grocer. George was employed as a Railway Clerk at Collingham Station before he enlisted in 1916 at the age of eighteen. George was lodging in Collingham when he enlisted but there is no way of knowing where he was living. George was killed in action in Belgium, in 1917, aged 19 years. George is burried in Oxford Road Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen.
I think this is a wonderful way to remember. There must have been many hours of work that went into this. I know from personal experience how much time and effort I have put in to researching Brougham Family History. It must have been a great way to bring the village closer together, 100 years on, to remember their former village residents. I found Diana's contact details and wrote to say how wonderful the project was. She replied to tell me, along with the blue circle plaques, they had produced a book listing everyone in the village. Needless to say I am now in possession. It's a lovely snapshot of the villages and those who were known to work there at that time. In some cases it goes on to say what happened to them after the war.
Charles Booker was born in Collingham in 1847 and grew up in a cottage on Main Street with his 5 siblings. In 1874 he married Mary Noble from East Keswick, in St Oswald's church. There were no children from this marriage and there was much sadness, when Mary's nephew, Frederick Noble, died of wounds shortly before the war ended.
After the war, the village came together to build a Memorial Hall. The story of how this came about is detailed in the lovely book. It was no mean feat by the residents of the 145 houses at the time, to raise the necessary funds. Needless to say, they achieved, and the hall was opened on 14th February 1920. At the opening, Lieutenant Colonel Granville Wheeler of Ledston Hall said that it was proposed to have 'a book recording the names, lives and history of those who gave their lives from the parish'.
100 years later, that proposal came to fruition!
Henry Johnson was born in Collingham in 1855 and after his marriage to Sarah Ann around 1876 moved to 3 Elmwood Terrace from where he worked as a Cowman. Henry and Sarah Ann raised thirteen children in this 2 up - 2 down cottage, all of whom survived to adulthood. During WW1 all six sons left the village to fight. William was killed in Gallipoli in 1915, with his death witnessed by his brother, David. Raymond was killed during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
When you read the stories of the families of this village it certainly does make you think about the sacrifice, they all made, and this is just one little window, on what was happening up and down the country. The war impacted everyone in the village in everything that they did. The Johnson family here, all six sons going off to do their duty, with two, William and Raymond, not returning home. The impact these 17 village deaths on the village must have been enormous, and, I guess, it is partly this that made the residents determined to build their Memorial Hall.
Collingham and Linton, I salute you for your remembrance, then and now.
The excellent book that documents the lives of those living in the village is called Collingham and Linton Remember - Village Life 100 years Ago 1918 - 2018 Researched by Diana Lee and Alan Berry. The quotes in this blog are taken from this book.
There is also an excellent website by the Military Historian, Alan Berry, who contributed to the project at collinghamanddistrictwararchive.info
The Facebook page which covers the events of 2018 when the village came together to remember WW1, 100 years on, can be found here.
Postscript - Brougham Family History and Collingham
Coincidence of all coincidences, my potential Collingham ancestors, George Brougham and Jane Brougham were witnesses to the marriage of Richard Johnson and Sarah Booker on 7th April 1833 at St Oswald's church. Out of all the blue discs in Collingham, how strange that I just happened to photograph those with the surnames of Johnson and Booker. Given the size of the village in 1833, there must be a connection between the married couple, whose wedding my Brougham ancestors had witnessed, and the WW1 village residents with the same name. During the last 30 years as I've tried to uncover my Brougham Family History, if there is one thing I have learned, is to follow up on conincidneces. Watch this space.