A Dorset Parish Remembers, 1914-1919

A Dorset Parish Remembers

The volume of material already released on the First World War leaves the investigative writer with no option but to seek out new angles, news stories, something different.  A Dorset Parish Remembers, 1914-1919, provides all of those.

Of the war dead, a national newspaper said as recently as June 2014:  ‘But we do not remember them. Only their names are known to us…we did not and cannot know them’.  There is a conundrum.

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 living in the parish, 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.

The book was published on 26th July 2014.  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 Mesopotamia, 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.  It is no coincidence that the Royal British Legion has as this year’s theme ‘Every Man Remembered’.

ISBN 978-0-9540570-3-9

Copies of the book can be obtained from:

Margaret Morgan-Grenville
Milton Mill Publishing
Milton Mill
West Milton

£9.99 (£7.99 + £2.00 p&p)
Cheques to be made payable to Milton Mill Publishing.