Masthead 2

In memory of those who gave their lives.
" ..... In trenches, ships and planes they died ....."

Last Updated:  08 February 2014
Private Billy Poole
It was the chance find on the web of this photograph of Billy Poole, whose name appears on the Urswick war memorial, that initially triggered a programme of research attempting to profile the life, determine the circumstances of their death and locate the actual resting place of all the names on the memorial. This was shortly followed by the receipt of a large number of newspaper cuttings from the early 1900s, including the years of the First World War.  These originated from John Dobson, headmaster at Urswick Grammar School from 1876 to 1920, and had been carefully conserved by his descendant relatives.  The cuttings included many references to local men serving in the war and enabled an idea to be developed, not only of what members of the armed forces were experiencing, but also how the local community dealt with their losses.

A similar exercise was then carried out relating to those who lost their lives in the Second World War.  In this instance it was possible in some cases to add detail by speaking to those who were contemporaries of those who died in the war and had remained in the locality.

It may be asked by some as to why this work was carried out.

Even as recently as the Second World War, and somewhat beyond, the Parish of Urswick was the home of rural communities made up of families, a high percentage of whom had a continuity of living in the locality for several generations.  The young men who died in the wars were part of those communities and their loss to their families was also a loss felt by their entire community.  Those days have now gone and the communities which sustained those losses have been broken and lost.  It is fitting therefore that those who learned about the young men who gave their lives, as a consequence of growing up within, but during the dying years of those same communities, should contribute to their memory.  This empathetic awareness of shared culture and shared values will shortly die too, and from thence be beyond resurrection.

The outcome of this research may be downloaded as pdf documents by clicking on the titles below:

Whilst reflecting on these losses, it may be fitting to listen to 'The Green Fields of France' written by Eric Bogle.  In the first instance it is sung by Dropkick Murphys and is accompanied by images from WW1.  It may be found on YouTube by clicking here.  An alternative entirely vocal rendition, beautifully sung by Tommy Fleming, may also be found on You Tube by clicking here.

This song is regarded by many as being the greatest anti-war song ever written.

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