Of the beginning of the first world war a villager, quoted in the Millennium book, “recalls the announcement made at the school. I remember Canon Bower coming into school and saying, ‘Children I’ve got some very sad news to tell you. We’re at war with Germany. The Kaiser – he’s the head of the German Nation- he wants to fight us.’”
The 1911 census records the population of the parish of Child Okeford as being 602[ with a further 25 in Hanford] of which 278 were male. During the course of the war approximately 156 men left to fight in ,what Woodrow Wilson the American President at the time, described as the “war to end all wars.”
The effects of the war were sudden and dramatic. The Western Gazette of the 25th September 1914 noted:
A GREAT EXAMPLE.- This village is now completely denuded of young men, the last four having just taken their departure to swell the ranks of Kitchener’s great Army”.
Some village families sent many men.
On Sunday January 3rd 1915 “Religious bodies generally throughout the country conformed with the suggestion made by his Majesty the King that Sunday should be observed as a day of special intercession on behalf of the Empire and the nations in this time of war….The Church of England form of service [included] a prayer in which the following passage [occurred]…”The conflict in which by grievous necessity we are engaged is such as must try to the utmost the strength of ourselves and our Allies…We have made great efforts and sacrifices for what our conscience tells us is the cause of right and of freedom and with the blessing of God we are ready to make still more. We must freely acknowledge that it is of God’s unmerited goodness that He has shielded our land from invasion and granted some measure of success to our arms”
It was probably after this day of prayer that the following lists were compiled of those serving in the army and for whom prayers had been said. [Larger versions can be seen on clicking them].
At the end of the war it was someones sad duty to compile a roll of honour of all those who had died in the war. The original document is shown on the left . A new roll of honour to include those who had died for their country in subsequent wars was commissioned and this is displayed in St Nicholas Church. This is shown on the left and we are delighted to receive Helen Kerridge’s permission to make her excellent book “Roll of Honour” available for you to read here.Child Okeford Roll of Honour
Hammoon being a smaller community had a memorial cross made, whilst Manstons roll of honour is on a marble tablet.
Putting faces to Names
In the early part of the war photographs of those who died were recorded in the newspapers ; as the numbers of dead increased nationally this practice gradually ceased.