Shrouds of the Somme

The Shrouds of the Somme is a long-running project to commemorate those lost on the Somme in 1916.

Initially, it commemorated the almost 20,000 men killed on the first day of the battle a figure never surpassed before or since in terms of the loss of men killed in one day. The overall casualty figures were in excess of 57,000.

This took the form of miniature figures wrapped in a white shroud that were displayed in Bath and elsewhere around the country.

It has now developed to commemorate the some 72,000 men on the Thiepval Memorial who have no known grave – the ‘Missing of the Somme’

To read more of the project click the image here –

The Shrouds project has now joined forces with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to gather as many stories as possible of the men who died and have no known grave. Kingsley has four such men and we have previously supplied their stories to the Missing of the Somme project and have now done the same to the Shrouds of the Somme.

The men are Charles Allen, George Price Bevans, Isaac Hammond and Arthur Keene.

To read each man’s story click on the links and you will be taken to the CWGC site where you can put the men’s name in and search – sadly at present there is not a unique web address for each man.

CWGC Shrouds Site 


James Meakin Died 100 Year Ago today

As the war drew into its final year so the casualty rate increased as more and more men from the parish found themselves in the armed forces.

Indeed between the early part of 1918 and the wars end at least 20 more men joined up. Many did not see active service and were soon demobbed back to civilian life.

From December 1917 when Roland Burston died and the end of the war in November 1918 8 men died as a result of their service and a further 4 at least would die in the years after.

James was 22 years old when he signed up in 1915 and was mobilised in May 1916. Prior to this he was a farm worker and following the death of his mother and grandmother his next of kin was his uncle James Thompson and aunt May who lived at 12 Church Street Kingsley.

The Thompson’s had 9 sons and one John served in the latter stages of the war.

James was posted to a siege battery unit and in May 1917 he was wounded suffering a severe chest wound. Remarkably he was back fit for action in 3 weeks and allocated to the 154th Siege Battery.

He had leave over Christmas and it is assumed returned home to Kingsley before returning to his unit in the New Year. On 19th January 1918 he had fallen ill and  was taken to a Casualty Clearing Station where he died at 1050am on the following day due to septicemia.

Such was the slow pace of news reaching home, on 8th February the local papers were reporting he was very ill.

Recently the project has been contacted by Cathy Thompson who’s grandfather was Leonard Thompson born the year after James and of course his cousin. Cathy knew little of her wider family let alone James and we are delighted that our work had shed some light on their history.

She lives in Scotland and placed a Poppy Cross at her local war memorial at Tarbolton in South Ayrshire on the last Remembrance Day. She also placed crosses in remembrance of another relative Rupert Birch from Foxt who died in WW1 and a relative of her partner, Phil Allen who lost his life in Afghanistan.

To read James’ story click HERE


Roland Burston – Died 100 Years Ago Today

Roland Burston died through illness on this date in 1917.

His family was in the employ of the Beech family and Roland and his wife traveled widely through his work as a gamekeeper.

He was living near to Newmarket in Suffolk when he joined up and is remembered on the war memorial in his local village at Eriswell and also at a site in Weather Heath.

Roland served in Royal Army Medical Corp’s as a Private. His unit the 68th Field Ambulance went to France in September 1915 (however he was not awarded the 1914-15 Star) and then went to Salonika in late 1916.

Salonika is in modern day Greece but it was no holiday for men serving there. Disease was rife and more men died there from illness than from fighting the Bulgarian and Turkish forces opposing the British troops.

How a field ambulance worked can be found HERE

Also, Rolands story in more detail can be found HERE 


Kingsley Remembers 1914 Project Team Donation to Kingsley Holt Chapel

Last month saw the final donation of monies raised from ‘sales’ of the book when authors Ken Unwin and Martyn Hordern handed over a cheque for £301 to the Reverend Andrew Farrington at the chapel. The book has now all but sold out with just two copies left out of a print run of 300.

It was somewhat fitting that the donation took place during the chapels 80th  year celebrations. However, the event was significant for more than one reason as Martyn Hordern’s great, great grandfather was a member at the old Chapel from 1870 to his death in 1918 and performed numerous roles including steward, Sundays School Superintendent, and caretaker. His funeral was held at the chapel and his former home was up the lane off Shawe Park Road.

The winter will see further research on some 20 men who have been identified as having served in the latter stages of the war as well as developing further information obtained the book launch. Whilst there will be an Ebook published next year that will in effect be a second edition it’s unclear if there will be a further print run at this time.



Pictured are Ken, Martyn, Andrew Farrington and members of the church. A picture of the old chapel is also attached.

More Coverage for the Project

Saturday 26th October saw the latest donation of monies raised from donations given for the book when a cheque was presented to Reverend Carole Richardson. It was quite fitting as  it was one of Carole’s last days as the Vicar of St Werburgh’s prior to her retirement.

We wish her well.




We also recently referred to the son of survivor Jim Flanagan being killed at Dieppe in 1942. George’s story is a fascinating one and we are delighted it has received recognition being selected as the letter of the month in the Britain at War magazine. Click on the image to the left to open it in a separate tab.

We are currently down to around 5 books or so left.

Our second copy to the United States arrived the other day and we are once again delighted to receive positive feedback for the book this time from a relative of Basil and Thomas Ferriday who’s father Moses, was both the Headmaster of St Werburgh’s and also the organist at the church.

‘The book arrived safely yesterday and I’m so pleased I asked you to send me a copy. I’ve only had opportunity for a quick look so far but I am very impressed …it’s attractive, easy to read and you have obviously researched thoroughly and reported accurately!

I was intrigued by the mysterious James Moss and my brief research so far has confirmed what a good job you’ve done….I thought he might be connected with the Moss-Simpson and Mycock folk who moved to Buglawton, Cheshire but I found a lot of James Mosses and little to draw any conclusions from. This brief exploration has shown me just how much work you must have done!’




All the Kingsley Men Benefits the Community

As some of you will have seen in the local newspaper ‘All the Kingsley Men’ has so far raised in excess of £1200 in donations. We are down to our last dozen books or so with a couple already waiting to go out.

We are delighted that the effort put into writing the book and the research behind it will benefit the current generation of our community. The money raised will be split four ways with equal shares going to Kingsley Village Hall, St Werburgh’s Church, Kingsley Royal British Legion and Kingsley Holt Chapel.

The first of the donations saw a cheque presented to Ivor Lucas Chair of Kingsley British Legion at the village hall earlier this week.

Ivor is pictured with the two authors of the book.

We continue to receive some very kind words about the book and the latest really is worth sharing. It is from a relative of George Wheawall who died in 1917.

She writes I’ve just had a quick look at the book, it’s so much more than I expected. Just a wonderful book its made me cry. Thank you so much for your time and effort that you have put into this book. We will treasurer it’

Kind words indeed.

We have also been contacted by a  relative of Charles and Hamlet Hulland and eagerly await any feedback and hopefully some photographs to be included in our second edition which will be an Ebook published in 2018.

Why we Research, Record and Remember

And not forgetting why we share.

The project clearly focuses on Kingsley Parish and its contribution to World War One.

Much of our research overlapped into other areas especially Cheadle and the villages surrounding and whilst much of the information never made the book due to not being relevant we have always been all too willing to share our research freely.

After the book launch in April, we came into possession of numerous photo’s courtesy of a local man. Several were unknown but on the basis that they might be Kingsley men and relevant to our work efforts were made to identify them.

One was identified by a friend to the project as Enoch Hoyland from Cheadle who died in 1916 on the Somme.

All our photos as well as being on the website were shared with a website called to ensure these men’s memories and stories were not lost and were shared far and wide.


A few weeks ago the website owner made contact to say that a relative of Enoch Hoyland from Warwickshire who was searching for information on him had come across the site and our photo of Enoch. They did not have photos of him during his service and are naturally delighted to now have a photo from his time in the army.

Research locally has revealed newspaper articles relating to his death (which include the above photo) and later to the death of his brother George who died in captivity as a POW in 1918.

Enoch was just 19 when he died, his family came from the Green in Cheadle. Remarkably his death is recorded in a book called ‘A Gunner’s War’ written by Ian Ronayne from the memoires of Enoch’s friend Clarence Ahier who was present when he died.

Below is an extract from the book relating to Enoch, if you click on it then it will open in a fresh browser tab.


75th Anniversary of the Dieppe Raid – A link to Kingsley and Kingsley Holt

This site and the project it is linked to is all about World War One, the various centenaries and the men and woman who served in that conflict.

However 25 years after the start of WW1 the second World War commenced and we are now seeing 75 year anniversaries of Dunkirk, the  Battle of Britain, Al Alamein and the like and local men and woman were involved.

Today is 75 years since the raid at Dieppe in France, where a mainly Canadian force landed in what was an attempt to take pressure off the Russian’s on the Eastern Front and also to test how to carry out amphibious landings.

Many called it a disaster and in excess of 4000 men were either killed, taken prisoner or wounded. The Royal Navy transported the men to the beaches on large ships and in small landing craft once offshore. The landing craft were crewed by men of the Royal Navy.

One such man was 18 years old George Flanagan who was the son of James Flanagan a WW1 veteran who featured on this site and features in our book All The Kingsley Men. The family lived ultimately at 7 and later 48  Sidney Drive Kingsley Holt after living in Kingsley for a spell.

George worked at Bolton’s who had once again moved over to war work producing munitions and as such he was in a reserved occupation and unlikely to be called up.

However, he wanted to join the navy and did so as soon as he could. All we know is that George was on a landing craft and as such would have been on the frontline and in great danger as his craft took men and machines to the beaches.

The Royal Navy lost 33 landing craft and over 500 men were killed or wounded. George was one of those killed and was posted missing and his family notified. His mother always thought he would return one day, so much so that she left his coat hanging up on a peg by the door.

It was only after the war that they discovered he had been killed and buried under the name of his sweetheart Sarah Winton. It seems that prior to him going off to war they both had bracelets made with each other’s name on. One can only imagine why those burying his body did not recognise it to be that of a man.

How this came to be found out is a fascinating story. Jim Flanagan was hurt in a factory accident and as compensation Bolton’s gave him a better-paid job. He saved this additional money and used it to visit the Dieppe area to tour the cemeteries with his wife Mary in the hope of finding George’s grave.

After several unsuccessful visits, Mary found a grave marked with Sarah Winton’s name on and realised it was George’s grave. George’s body was exhumed and reburied with the correct name – initially, the marker was a wooden cross but later it was marked by the traditional CWGC headstone.

Jim as he was known and his wife Mary visited their son’s grave into the 1950’s and are pictured with it. They also visited Brown’s Copse Cemetery also in France where Mary’s brother George Wheawall is buried having lost his life in 1917, indeed the centenary of his death was marked very recently on the site.

George’s name is commemorated on the Wayside Cross in Dovedale Road Kingsley and also on a tablet in St. Werburgh’s Church.

George Wheawall – died one hundred years ago today

As the war intensified so the casualty rate amongst Kingsley’s men increased. George Wheawall was the sixteenth man with links to die in the war which was by that time into its fourth year.

Another nine men were to die in the next 14 months of the war and a further four would die afterwards as a result of their service

George was shot by a sniper whilst bring in a wounding man in the Arras area. In the spring of 1917 the area was at the centre of the battle for Arras and the cemetery where he is buried (Brown’s Copse) is another of those stunningly sad and beautiful sites cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The project team were honoured to visit Georges final resting place last year and to place a poppy cross on behalf of the community and his family.

Further tragedy was to befall the family as George’s wife died in 1918 in the great flu pandemic and his two boys were looked after by George’s sister Mary and her husband Jim Flanagan, who himself was a veteran.

George’s full story can be read HERE

The photo adjacent is a fascinating then and now picture of Brown’s Copse comparing it in the war to more recently.

The project team had until last year being in touch with George’s descendants, Mandy Jones and her father but we have lost touch recently. If they read this or you know the family please ask them to get in touch via this page.

Today is also 99 years since George Ramsell lost his life in 1918.

Thomas Barker – died 5th August 1917

The centenary commemorations of the First World War see not only those of large battles and significant events, they also commemorate the deaths of men like Thomas Barker.

There was some doubt as to the date of death, the Commonwealth War Graves lists it as 5th August, there are two entries in successive days in the war diary of his unit and the plaque in St. Werburgh’s dates his death as 8th August.

From research, we are confident that the date of his death by drowning was 5th August.

He has relatives still living in Kingsley but to date we have been unable to locate a photograph of him.

His life story can be found HERE