The Book of Remembrance
This text was written at the beginning of the project, in 2012.
When the people of the Tutbury area erected the War Memorial in St. Mary’s churchyard after the First World War, funded by public subscription, they knew the people whose memory was represented by the 47 names inscribed on it, as they did the fate of the individuals concerned. They were the friends and family of people on both sides of the river. Similarly when a further 13 names were added after the Second World War.
Now, nearly 100 years after the start of the First World War and 75 years after the start of the Second World War, few in the village know who any of these individuals were or their fate. In WWI, the first died on Christmas Day 1914, the last died on December 31st 1918; a dozen fell on the Somme, several fell in the “North Stafford’s Great Charge” in the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt. In WWII, they fell as far away as the infamous Burma Railway.
They are buried in Cemeteries or remembered on Memorials in France and Flanders but also as far away as Gallipoli, Baghdad, Tehran and Burma where some graves are rarely, if ever, visited. Indeed, few know of the seven casualties buried in churchyard at St. Mary’s in Tutbury, making the churchyard an official War Cemetery.
With the approaching centenary in 2014 of the outbreak of WWI and also the 75th anniversary of the start of WWII, it is time to rectify this situation, to find out a little more about the people who sacrificed their lives and reconnect them to the area where they lived.
We have explored various information sources, starting with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, genealogy websites, the Tutbury Museum, the Magic Attic and the people of the Tutbury area to gather information about these men with the purpose of creating the “Tutbury Book of Remembrance” to be given to the churches, museums and educational establishments in the area.
This website provides a link to the book, which can be read or downloaded and printed if required; it contains the information that we have discovered about the first 50 of these men from WWI; their life before the war (they worked for local employers such as the Glass Works, the Plaster Mill, the Nestle “Condensed Milk factory” as it was known and as agricultural labourers) and what happened to them in the war. Further research on WWI and the men from WWII will be published in 2014.
As well as returning the men to the village, we should also look to renovate and conserve the War Memorial. This is discussed on a separate website (www.tutburywarmemorials.org.uk) which is solely concerned with the various Tutbury War Memorials and their condition.
For our part, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have entrusted us with the care of the seven War Graves at St. Mary’s and we attempt to maintain them in a respectful condition and, where possible, improve their surroundings.
If you have any information relating to these individuals or the War Memorial itself please contact Rick or Jane Nuth – see the contacts page. If you would like to be put on an Email list for any future newsletter that may be produced by the project please email the project here.