A Dorset Parish Remembers 1914-1919
Author: Edited by Richard Connaughton (St John's 1989)
Publisher: Milton Mill
On Remembrance Sunday, in churches throughout the land, congregations dutifully declare ‘We will remember them’. When The Times first published Laurence Binyon’s eulogy to the fallen on 21st September 1914, people did remember them. They were known. A hundred years on, that is not the case. As a rule, the names read out are those of strangers.
But that is no longer true in the hidden Dorset parish of Powerstock, which refused to accept their eleven First World War dead would remain unknown for ever. In November 2013, a pledge was made that in a year’s time, at the Centenary Remembrance Service, the parish’s long-forgotten servicemen would be both known and remembered. The parishioners wrote a book. Now, when they come to say ‘we will remember them’, they will mean it. It will be true.
The call went out for volunteers to adopt one of the dead and tell in one chapter all that was known of him. Among those who joined the research and administration teams were farmers, a musician, the policeman and his wife, a former soldier, two former sailors, a businessman, retired and serving teachers, a journalist and the owner of holiday accommodation. It had been a tremendous community endeavour.
Each man’s important story is told in a vivid and original way. Apart from the touching record of each of those who died, there are extraordinary findings and many unexpected connections as well. Most of these men died immense distances away from their quiet village homes, from Powerstock to Basra, Egypt, Gallipoli, Jutland, Poona and Vladivostok. The book is a reassuring guide for others not prepared to accept we cannot know those who had sacrificed so much.
Copies of the book can be obtained from:
Milton Mill Publishing
RRP £9.99 (£7.99 + £2.00 p&p)