War efforts marked by new village streets

Official unveiling of the first war memorial after the First World War in the churchyard at Middleton Cheney
Official unveiling of the first war memorial after the First World War in the churchyard at Middleton Cheney

The sacrifices of an entire village community during the Great War are to be marked in perpetuity by the naming of three new streets in Middleton Cheney.

Residential roads on a new estate under construction will be given names associated with World War One which broke out 100 years ago in August.

The parish council and village historical society is currently choosing between a list of appropriate names in recognition of the remarkable contribution made in various ways by almost every family in the parish.

The names under consideration range from Centenary Road to Poppy Field Way.

Local historian Nancy Long said: “During the 1914-18 war, 185 men from our village served in the armed forces and 22 names are listed on the war memorial.

“Many came back badly injured, physically and mentally. None of their lives were ever the same again.

“We are currently tracing as many as we can from a list found in our parish register which contains 73 names of boys and men who enlisted as soon as war was declared in 1914. To date we have traced 50 of them, many buried in the village cemetery.”

Middleton has five Commonwealth war graves in its churchyard marking the resting place of soldiers who died either before embarkation or who were evacuated from France due to illness or because they were wounded.

Mrs Long said: “Although many of our young men joined Northants regiments and served in France and Flanders, extensive research of every name on our war memorial, and also the soldiers who returned, revealed that our young men also served and died in the Gallipoli campaign and in Mosopotamia (Iraq) with the Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry.

“Others served in alternative regiments such as the Bedfordshires, Wiltshires and Royal Artillary. A complete Roll of Honour with full service details and photographs is available for viewing in the church.

“A number of village men, girls and women were employed in munitions at the shell-filling factory in Banbury to contribute to the war effort. Many of these families still live in Middleton Cheney. Flowers are still laid on the graves of the fallen and they are certainly not forgotten.”