Saturday, 2 August 2014

Cholsey War Memorial

The First World War started 100 years ago this week on the 4th August when Great Britain declared war on Germany after they invaded France & Belgium. From that day thousands of young men gave their lives for their country. Cholsey had it's fair share of casualties like many other villages in the country. I wrote this blog a while ago after seeing the memorial in Cholsey Church so I think it is fitting I republish it on Inspired Sunday. You will find graves from both wars shown but they gave their lives none the less.

Most people would think this lump of stone on the Forty was the he war Memorial in Cholsey (personally I always think it is an afterthought placed there by a former council) but you would be wrong. The war memorial is in St Mary's Church and certainly does justice to the memory of those who lost their lives.

When you go into the church and look at the Memorial you can see the village probably thought that this was the best place rather than in the village  as it is a fine piece of sculpture and underneath is a smaller one to the dead of the second world war.

When I look at the names of the fallen from the first war  I recognise many family names from the village today and back then the village was smaller so the loss must have been devastating.

By compassion the second world war one below has fewer names though both the Bitmeads came from a  farming family and that  must have had a deep effect on them.
While talking with my Friend the other day he told me a story about his father who when called up for the second war had to go off to camp on the train. His parents cried as he went off believing they would not see him again. They remembered what happened with the first war. He came back though some of the guys he knew did not.


There is even a smaller memorial to them on the church wall placed there by the family with a third name added.

On the same wall a little way from the last memorial you will see this one

Outside in the churchyard is a memorial to those who died and are buried in the churchyard. Most of the men listed here were admitted to Fairmile Asylum with shell shock or similar. they died while there so no doubt would have been buried in the Farimile part of the churchyard.

Below are the Commonwealth war graves you will find in the Churchyard

Private F Heges

A Smith

Driver H

 W.R Howse

 F Nelson
 A Abdey who is named on this headstone does not seem to appear on  the memorial though his brother named below does.  Alfred Abdey. was in the Royal Berks territorials, but he was ill in Wallingford Hospital when they held their summer camp that year.  He died on the day after war was declared, 5 August 1914 which is why he is not mentioned on the war memorial.

 Lance Corporal Herbert John Abdey is Remembered on Loos Memorial, the panel reference is 93- 95 which I fear means his body was never found.
Cholsey like many other villages paid a high price with it's men, may they never be forgotten.
Since writing this blog another memorial has come to light. It used to hang in the Memorial Hall in Cholsey which is now the site of the telephone exchange.
It has been restored and hangs in the entrance foyer of Cholseys New Pavilion
I only spotted this memorial tonight and its to
Ivor Leonard Lillington W.O.II, B.S.M.,R.A.  who was killed in Action  on June 1 1940 in the evacuation of Dunkirk  He is buried in St James Cemetery Dover 


  1. Such an interesting post. Very interesting that Alfred Abdey has a commonwealth war grave.

    Beneath Thy Feet

  2. Very interesting -- and nice photos! Thanks for participating in Taphophile Tragics, as well. :)

  3. that 'lump of stone' certainly does not look worthy of the men who gave their life in the Great War. the one inside the church will be far better preserved for being indoors.

  4. I really enjoyed this post. I feel that I have come across Cholsey in my family history research too but can't find it at present.

  5. Again a great post Bill!

    Sincerest greetings from the Netherlands,

  6. Quite the change in subject this week Bill, Have a lovely week. Tom The Backroads Traveller

  7. neat reflection of you. i love the poppies. i enjoy how they use them. is there a meaning, that i might not know of? they are very beautiful. ( :

    1. I think the reason was this poem by John McCrae and that poppys were the thing that grew on the battlefields.
      In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
      That mark our place; and in the sky
      The larks, still bravely singing, fly
      Scarce heard amid the guns below.

      We are the Dead. Short days ago
      We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
      Loved and were loved, and now we lie
      In Flanders fields.

      Take up our quarrel with the foe:
      To you from failing hands we throw
      The torch; be yours to hold it high.
      If ye break faith with us who die
      We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
      In Flanders fields.

  8. I am always in awe of these memorials. Great photos!

  9. I was sorry to have missed the amazing display of poppies at the Tower of London. We did see many memorials like these that are so sobering...

  10. Very interesting post,wonderfull fotos,greeting from Belgium