Project Description

Since Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 and her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, it has been the tradition in Croxley Green (Hertfordshire) to celebrate national events. It was therefore not surprising that, given the countrywide recognition of the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice that signalled the end of World War One, Croxley Green was determined to mark the event in the village. A list of all the men from Croxley Green who had served in the forces, both those killed and those who survived, was compiled. It was also decided that servicemen who had any association with the village, through birth or work, should be added to the list, even if they did not live in Croxley Green itself. When research began, the obvious starting points were the Memorials of the Fallen on The Green and in All Saints church. Also at the church was a bronze plaque which recorded the fallen employees of the John Dickinson paper mill. The Apsley Frogmore Paper Mill - now a museum - provided a comprehensive list of Dickinson men. Tracing the men who survived was not straight forward, with this painstaking work undertaken by local residents Margaret Pomfret and Lynn Withington. Using genealogy sites and data sets from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Imperial War Museums, a total of 412 men were identified. A spread sheet was made, which was then separated into those who had survived and those who had died. It was considered important that this information should be shared in a visual way with the community. From the 412 names, it was possible to identify 287 names where the properties were still accessible. It was decided that each house should be contacted and asked if, throughout November, they would display a poster with the name of the man who had gone into the War from that address. Stroma Digital Printing, Slough, designed an A4 poster with a simple single stemmed poppy and bud, adding the name and address for each serviceman. Two versions of the poster differentiated between those who had lost their lives and those who survived. The company generously printed and laminated these posters free of charge. After contacting the residents they were delighted to put a poster in their window. In June 2018 Ben Whitley from the Community Club was contacted by Daniel Brant, a producer for 8000ft Media. The company was releasing a First World War historical reconstruction based on the story of Geoffrey Malins, a cinematographer who had filmed the Battle of the Somme from a trench near the village of Beaumont. The Community Club agreed to purchase the cinematic license to show this film reconstruction. Residents representing the Community Club, Croxley Green Residents Association, Croxley Green History Project, Royal British Legion and Croxley Green Parish Council held a meeting to decide how best to mark the anniversary, using the 8000ft Media film, but adding other elements to reflect the involvement of the village more directly. It was decided to hold a special evening in the Community Centre on 3rd October. A small booklet based on the 1911 Census was produced by a local resident, representing the village just before the war started. A 14-panel photo exhibition plus a display of mixed war-time memorabilia, including weapons, was arranged by Margaret Pomfret and Derek Wallington. The hall itself was decorated with bunting on which red poppies, knitted and crocheted by local people, had been fixed. The programme included a short general film about the war, to give more context to the reconstruction. The films were followed by a slide presentation by local resident Luke Bennett about some of the men from Croxley Green and their experiences. Margaret Pomfret gave a slide presentation about the village they had left to fight in Europe. The evening was an opportunity for local residents to join together to remember the war and how a small village coped. This free event, with a buffet throughout the evening prepared by Vanessa Monroe, was such a success that a second evening was held on 14th November. As well as the evening events, the photo exhibition was shown in the Library for approximately six weeks, whilst knitted and crocheted poppies were also on sale. On Remembrance Day itself, a special seat was unveiled on The Green near the War Memorial. It was purchased by the Croxley Green Residents Association from funds donated from the County Councillor’s annual community budget.
Croxley Green History Project

Organisation

Organised by

Croxley Green History Project

Location

WD3 3AS

Event

Date

2018-10-01, 2018-11-01

Venue

Various sites in Croxley Green

Location

WD3 3AS

Focus and Research

Resources used for research

Local archives, online genealogy websites, published material,