Centenary of World War One 1914 -1918
Commemorations of the Fallen of World War One will start this year and continue through the next four years until the end of 2018. It is not intended that these commemorations are in any way an attempt to glorify war but rather a way of an acknowledgment of the sacrifices made by millions of people, both military and civilian.
As part of these commemorations I am undertaking a project to research the lives of those whose names appear on the Chandler’s Ford War Memorial.
In Chandler’s Ford, at the outbreak of WW1 in August 1914, the population was probably a little over 1,000. By the end of the war some 51 men and 1 woman, whose names appear either on the war memorial, or on the memorial plaque inside the church, had made the ultimate sacrifice.
It is estimated that during WW1, 722,785 British Servicemen died, either killed in action or of wounds sustained. Most families had lost someone and many of those who died had no known place of burial.
With no funeral and no known grave families had no place to mourn and no outlet for their grief, so new rituals were sought. These took the form of new ways of civic remembrance and commemoration based around the Armistice, of 11th November 1918. The Cenotaph in Whitehall and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey were created as national symbols and provided a central point for mourning and remembrance. However more local community based symbols were needed.
Chandler’s Ford War Memorial
The people of Chandler’s Ford wanted a lasting memorial and to this end the Chandler’s Ford Memorial Committee was formed and entered into discussion with the Parish Council of Chandler’s Ford to erect a war memorial.
The war memorial was unveiled by Major Hennessey MP and dedicated by the vicar, the Reverend Rene Pierssene on the 6th March 1920. At that time it stood at the end of Hursley Road on railway company land only moving to its present site in 1973 being re-dedicated on 4th August 1974.
Many of you may have stopped, read these names, and like me have wondered about the lives of these people. Harry and John Wilson were indeed brothers, however, Sidney and Wilfred Hillier were not related.
Some of these men, you will not be surprised to learn, worked in the brick works and for the railway, while others were career soldiers. They include the son of a rear-admiral, the son of the local policeman as well as the vicar’s son Frederick Pierssene.
Can you help?
I have already spoken with Barbara Hillier, the great niece of Wilfred Hillier, but are there any other living relatives out there happy to share their family memories? Does anyone have any photos or information relating to Chandler’s Ford during and after WW1? If so, I would love to hear from you.
Please contact Margaret Doores
Telephone: 023 8025 3778
Post Series: Chandler’s Ford War Memorial Research, by Margaret Doores: