Cranfield Remembers - a book raising money for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal

The lives of Cranfield’s Great War Fallen

The servicemen named on the Cranfield War Memorial, who gave their lives in the Great War, have been commemorated in a book written by local author, Dr Marjorie Cotton.

Cranfield Remembers tells the stories behind the forty-three names, their parts in the Great War, and the families they left behind.

It was a trip to the battlefields of France and Belgium in 2015 that started Marjorie’s quest. The sheer scale of the battles and deaths of the First World War made her determined to find out how the War had affected Cranfield.

Her first step on her return was to visit the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website.

She said:

“I typed in a name [from the Memorial] and I got about a hundred entries for the same name.

“I thought ‘how on earth do I sort this out?'”

Marjorie was put in touch with Roger Thompson. In 2014, Roger had compiled a near complete list of those listed on the memorial.

As well as the names, he had service numbers, ranks, regiment, how, where and when they died. He has also had names of parents and wives.

The British Legion was also interested in the project as it wanted to place poppy crosses on all the war graves on Remembrance Day.

With the help of the Rector, Hugh Symes-Thompson, Marjorie identified all the graves.

The memorial list was still incomplete, but with the help of Lee Hall, the list was completed. Lee had been posting information about the Cranfield war dead on the Cranfield Family History Page on Facebook. She was determined to get to the very last one.

Dr Marjorie Cotton author of Cranfield Remembers

Marjorie said:

“I couldn’t have written it without Lee. There wouldn’t have been a book without her research.

“My part was to put it all in order and to make sure that everything tied together.”

Two brothers died on the same day

The book is in two parts, the first part tells both the stories of those who took part and of the War.

The second covers Remembrance and Commemoration. There is also an appendix that lists the details of the servicemen commemorated, including two brothers who were killed on the same day.

Arthur and George Wilson, from Bourne End, were both killed on 12 October 2017. Arthur was fatally wounded four miles south from George during the First Battle of Passchendaele.

All proceeds from Cranfield Remembers – The fallen of the Great War of 1914-1918 go to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

To order your copy (£10) email marjorie.cotton@btinternet.com