Warwickshire village’s new board to honour all of its war heroes
WHEN the people of Bidford gathered at the war memorial on Saturday (11th November), it was not only to remember the fatalities of war but also to pay tribute to those who fought and survived.
All of the servicemen and women have been included on a roll of honour which was unveiled in Crawford Hall shortly after the gathering at the war memorial.
Historian, the late Bob Marshall, wrote two books: the first about the lives of those from Bidford who were killed. His second book covered the lives of those who returned, many with terrible injuries, and he felt that their sacrifice should also be remembered.
Now it will be – and in a hall named after a former village GP who served as a military doctor in World War I and is included among the nearly 300 names engraved on the board.
In front of a large crowd, the roll of honour was unveiled by Rodney Crompton who remembered many of the survivors from his childhood and whose own father is on the list.
In her introduction, Wendy Shaddick, chair of Bidford and District History Society’s research group, recounted some stories of heroism and tragedy behind a few of the names on the board.
This included Fred Birchley who was torpedoed but survived twice. He was wounded at Gallipoli and again on the Western Front, and also fought in Italy and Palestine before returning home aged just 19.
There was also Nathan Locke, one of five sons, who appealed for exemption from war service as he alone remained at home to look after his elderly parents’ farm.
He was unsuccessful and joined up in October 1916. Just over a year later he was killed at Ypres, aged 28, leaving a wife and two children. All four of his brothers survived.
The ceremony closed with a rendition of Keep the Home Fires Burning by members of the Bidford Community Choir.
The board was partly funded by the research group with support from both Bidford Parish Council and Bidford Rotary Club.