November 2, 2023

War Memorial Plaques

In the Great War of 1914-1918 North Marston lost 24 men. To put this in perspective, this was more than the combined totals of Whitchurch and Oving. In one stroke, an entire generation didn’t come home and it cast a long shadow over the village for many years afterwards.

These young men would have known each other, and many would have been at school and grown up together. For a small village of barely 600 people to lose 24 young men was a tragedy of huge proportions… was equivalent to the loss of 10% of men of working age.

These losses would have ripped the heart out of most village families. Every one of them was either a son, a husband, a father, an uncle a brother or a friend. When these families recovered sufficiently from the searing impact of grief, they then worked towards creating a fitting memorial to their loved ones. Through their endeavours the Memorial Hall was commissioned and built entirely with voluntary donations.

It’s now 106 years since the end of the Great War and the scale of this tragedy has slipped beyond living memory. As it fades in the rear-view mirror it would be easy to erase these 24 men from our collective history.

Yet, although we have a Memorial Hall, it is an abstract representation and for today’s youngsters in particular something more graphic is needed to illustrate the sacrifices made on their behalf by the young men of their village. These sacrifices are not diminished by the passage of time.

The North Marston History Club, working with others, decided that a timely and appropriate memorial would be two wall plaques mounted on the outside of the Memorial Hall. Everyone, young and old, could then be reminded that these young men were real people with real lives, and names that still resonate in the village to this day.

As with the public funding of the Memorial Hall 100 years ago we decided to launch an appeal. Our vision is that at the 2024 Remembrance Day service, attended by Beavers, Cubs, Brownies, Scouts and Guides as well as other residents and organisations of the village, we will be able to lay wreaths and demonstrate our gratitude to these men in front of something tangible: plaques bearing their names and adding a focus to their collective sacrifice.

It is also important to remember that in addition to the horrifying losses during the Great War of 1914-18, other men have died as a result of conflict, not least the six young airmen who lost their lives when their bomber crashed in the village in 1945. The second plaque will be dedicated to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Second World War and later.

STOP PRESS! Shop Donation!

The History Club  is really grateful to The Shop for donating £500 towards our war memorial plaque appeal. As you may know, from time to time The Shop allocates a proportion of its end of year profits to specific community projects. This year, the Shop Management Committee decided the North Marston War Memorial appeal was a worthwhile objective…a permanent tribute to the dozens of men who gave their life for our freedom. Thank you to The Shop for helping us to take a big step towards raising the funds for these bronze plaques that will be attached to the outside of the Memorial Hall.

Stop Press! MADs Donation!

The History Club is thrilled to have been given £500 towards the War Memorial plaques by MADS (Marston Amateur Dramatic Society) which takes us another big step towards the funding we need for these bronze plaques which will be displayed on the outside of the Memorial Hall here in North Marston. Thank you MADS for your great, community-spirited donation.

Stop Press! Clocklands and Poors Piece Charity Donation!

We are thrilled to have been a given a donation of £1,000 by the Trustees. Thank you Trustees for your generous gift towards our target.

Stop Press! Winslow & Surrounding Villages Community Board Grant!

We are incredibly grateful to the Board for confirming a “matched grant” of £2,500 which means we now have enough funding to place the order for the plaques from the Foundry which we shall be doing very soon.