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£710raised of £3,000 target by 14 supporters

Weʼre raising £3,000 to A Community Remembers - for a permanent memorial and tell the stories of the men in our area who fell area in WWI

Bethnal Green, London

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Story

The centenary of the end of WWI will be marked with pomp and splendour, medals, swords, uniforms and speeches. Dignitaries will try, as will everybody else, to understand why such carnage was allowed to happen.

Here, in Bethnal Green, in the corner of St Peters’ Church are boards, including some from St Thomas’ Church (demolished) carrying the names of the 168 men of the locale who perished in that conflict and until recently all that we had was that, their names. In 2014 a volunteer at the church became intrigued enough to attempt to find out what she could about these men. That volunteer, Phillipa Atkinson, has uncovered the biographies of 125 of them. Some of the information is fragmentary, some more fulsome, but universally the men had all lived within a five-minute walk of the church.

None were commissioned officers, none went to Sandhurst, none were professional soldiers, all died for their country. They worked in a range of professions that existed at the bottom of society at the time. Wood carvers, umbrella stick makers, errand boys, labourers, carmen, hamper liners and a host of professions lost to us today. They died in the slaughterhouses of Belgium and France, in Turkey, in Jerusalem, in Basra and on ships torpedoed and sunk in the North Sea.

After the war this area was plummeted back into a level of poverty people hoped had been left behind in the nineteenth century. The men who survived were injured, missing limbs, or gassed so they could hardly breathe. Many were shell shocked and broken. Women bore the brunt of survival for their dependants and speaking as someone whose grandmother was one of those women, the scars of that were carried until their dying days. I remember her showing me my grandfathers’ medal and saying, “What good was that, we couldn’t eat it.”

We have always had a strong community here, and it is the community of the 21st century, both old and new, who wishes to take these lives from the shadows of the church and erect a public memorial to them. Having the biographies is an amazing gift, they make sad and salutary reading, but they also bring the area alive to that past in a way it is difficult to describe. We will be producing a book containing all of the information that we have, and have a web presence where we shall seek to find further information. We are all volunteers and if we raise any money in excess of what is needed it will go to the charity Help For Heroes. All donations of £10 or more will be acknowledged in the final print run of the book in time for Remembrance Sunday 2018.

They were ordinary men, leading ordinary lives, let’s not forget them

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Updates

4

  • L S WILKINSON7 months ago
    L S WILKINSON

    L S WILKINSON

    7 months ago

    We are moving on with the project and moving on with trying to find those men for whom we only have names. Yesterday I came across the records for George Robert Bennett which takes the number of men whom we know about to 127 out of 168. Like many he was engaged in the wood trade as a labourer in a sawmill. I doubt he would have walked more than 5 minutes to work. In 1911 he was married with a three week old daughter. He enlisted at Whitehall and became a rifleman in the London Regiment. He was killed in action on 1 September 1918 age 27.

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  • L S WILKINSON9 months ago
    L S WILKINSON

    L S WILKINSON

    9 months ago
    Update from the Page owner

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  • L S WILKINSON9 months ago
    L S WILKINSON

    L S WILKINSON

    9 months ago

    One of the biographies: Robert Owen BUCKLE: Private 2493 was born in 1878 the son of a stationer. One of six children of William and Sarah. Robert became a french polisher and he married Caroline Tibbles in December 1900. They had five children and in 1911 they were living at 29 Durant Street. Robert must have been among the sick and wounded shipped from the campaigns at Gallipoli and Salonika to hospitals and convalescent units established on Malta and Gozo as he is buried on Malta. Died 26/9/1915 aged 37

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9 months ago

L S WILKINSON started crowdfunding

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Page last updated on: 1/30/2018 10:16 AM

Supporters

14

  • George Brooke

    George Brooke

    Jan 30, 2018

    Hi Lin,I hope this helps

    £50.00

  • Caroline Meadows

    Caroline Meadows

    Jan 27, 2018

    Thank you for organising this Linda. So important to remember ordinary folk who lost their lives.

    £30.00

  • Paul Burgess

    Paul Burgess

    Jan 24, 2018

    £20.00

  • Susan Goldman

    Susan Goldman

    Dec 30, 2017

    A very worthy cause and one that is close to my heart as I lost four Great Uncles in WW1, all of them just working men from East London.

    £10.00

  • Edmund Rich

    Edmund Rich

    Dec 8, 2017

    Linda - inspiration idea to remember inspiration people and to add poignancy to beauty and community. Well done, Eddie

    £150.00

  • Sandra Smith

    Sandra Smith

    Dec 3, 2017

    A brilliant project Linda, our thanks to all these brave men who gave up their lives for our future freedom.

    £10.00

  • Nadjie Butler

    Nadjie Butler

    Dec 3, 2017

    You are an inspiration Linda. Sorry it’s not more.

    £10.00

L S WILKINSON

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About the fundraiser
L S WILKINSON

L S WILKINSON

Bethnal Green, London

Local author and community activist working in collaboration with other volunteers and the Adam Atkinson the priest of St Peters' Church Bethnal Green.

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