Throughout August the Banbury Guardian is revealing some of the fascinating stories uncovered by Banburyshire’s villages about members of their community who served in the First World War.
All Saints Church in Middleton Cheney was transformed into a scented haven of flowers as different village organisations pulled together to mark the centenary of the start of the war.
Twenty three soldiers from the village lost their lives during the Great War and each was remembered with a floral tribute placed on the individual soldier’s Commonwealth War Grave in the churchyard or around the war memorial. The theme from August 2-4 was ‘Poetry and Music’.
Denise Howes, secretary of the Middleton Cheney History Society, said: “Several visitors to the church were moved to tears reading the poetry and the soldiers’ stories.
“People came back for a second and even a third visit. The soldiers who didn’t return to the village had been researched by members of the history society; it was an emotional few days made even more poignant when the Last Post was played.
“We would wish to thank everyone who very generously donated their time to help make the event the great success it proved to be. Friends, neighbours, organisations and clubs/societies in the village all contributed to make a very special occasion in the history of Middleton Cheney.”
The vast and impressive display of memorabilia included mannequins wearing nurses’ uniforms. Many relatives/descendants of the soldiers signed the visitors’ book, including Neil Saggers, great nephew of Francis Williams – the first man from Middleton Cheney killed in 1914.
Music played in the background throughout the weekend, interspersed with recorded poetry readings from members of the Lynden Players and village churches. Village hand bell ringers also played during the weekend.