November News Letter


As I wrote last month, I thought that, as we head towards the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in 2014, it would be a good time to find out more about the men commemorated on Buckland’s War Memorial.  Who were they?  What Regiment did they belong to?  When and how did they die?  Where are they buried?  Who were their families? Are there still family members living in the area?  My aim is to put together a folder telling the story of each man, which can be kept in the Church.

Well, we know a bit more now. One unexpected finding is that at least 4 of the men are commemorated on other War Memorials, two of them (William Grabham and William Hector) in Combe St Nicholas where, quite remarkably, there are photographs of all the men who died – have a look.

Frank Knight was called up in January 1915; before the end of the month he had died of pneumonia – just 23 days in the army.  Fred Buttle was a Reservist, and called up in August 1914. By August 22 he was in France; he was killed on November 13, the day he was to be married.  His brother William died of wounds on December 3 1917, as reported in The Courier on December 17:

GUNNER WILLIAM BUTTLE KILLED – the sad news has reached his parents, Mr and Mrs Samuel Buttle, of Thornfalcon, and formerly of Buckland St Mary, of the death in action of their son, Gunner William Buttle, of the R.F.A.  Mr and Mrs Buttle had already lost one son in the war, and sincere sympathy will be felt for them in this second mournful sacrifice on behalf of the country.  Gunner Buttle, who had done nearly three years’ man service, sustained his mortal wounds on Sunday, December 2nd, his twenty-fourth birthday, probably in the heavy fighting in which the Germans sought to deprive us of the advantage of our victory before Cambrai.  His injuries to the arms and legs were very grave, and he only lingered till next day.  Among the missives received from him were several of quite recent date, the latest being a trench postcard written on the day when he was wounded.  Previous to joining the Army, early in 1915, he was employed by Mrs Greenway, of Lower Farm, Thornfalcon, and he had won regard as a faithful workman, and generally by all who knew him, for his upright personal qualities.  In sending deepest sympathy to his parents his officer writes: “If not now, than at least presently, it will help you to remember that he died fighting bravely, and has gone home to Him Who said, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.’”

Does anyone in the area have memories or information about their families?  Any little piece of remembrance is valuable. Maybe even photographs or letters? To remind you again, their names are:

Fred Billing                                                         Harry Painter

Fred Buttle                                                         William Pook

William Buttle                                                     Walter Charles Pring

William Grabham                                                William James Pring

James Hardwill                                                   Frank Smith

William Hector                                                               WW2

Frank Knight                                                             Louis Ashford

Stanley North                                                           James Mudge


Please contact Rosanna Barton or Val Pym at email War Memorial

More information on Somerset Remembers Web Site, the Somerset Heritage Centre’s centenary site.

Copyright © 2014 Buckland St Mary.