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Village WW1 project remembers a lost generation

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A village is holding a series of events to commemorate local menfolk killed in the First World War, including the first installation of a poignant nationwide art project. Victoria Williams, of Tarporley Remembers, spoke to Family Tree about the centenary and what it means to her community...

 

In this World War I Armistice Centenary year, I have helped to coordinate a series of community-based events in the village of Tarporley, Cheshire, to remember the 61 men and boys who are listed in the WW1 section of our war memorial.

 

In our little rural setting, the loss of 61 lives was a profound one and – via detailed accounts of Tarporley during the Great War, which I found in Chester Records Office – we have been able to create some personal and poignant biographies of nearly all of the village soldiers who died.

 

As everyone who carries out this kind of research well knows, you find yourself plunging down many ‘rabbit holes’, following fascinating strands of information and their off-shoots to sometimes some quite amazing finds.

 

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The words of one of our lost soldiers, Private Ellis Rogers from the King’s Liverpool Regiment, keep going around my head. We know he was in one of the lead battalions on the first day of The Somme, with the objective of capturing the town of Montauban. Therefore Ellis, who was 21 when he was killed on the 30 July 1916, would probably have witnessed the surely terrifying explosion of the Kasino Point Mine – 5,000 pounds of explosives that was mistimed and went off AFTER the British infantry attack had commenced.

 

Two weeks later – and around two weeks before Ellis’s death – he wrote to the Rector of Tarporley, Canon Walter Hughes: ‘I don’t feel very well, I suffer from headaches and dizziness, which comes on very often. If I ever get back to Tarporley I shall expect to see the church packed out, mostly with men who have been in the firing line, because if a man gets through this war and doesn’t thank God whenever he can, I shall think he is mad.’

 

• You might also be interested in this article: How to identify a military medal

 

To remember Ellis and the 60 other soldiers on our war memorial, we have formed ‘Tarporley Remembers 2018’. Find us on Facebook for up-to-date information on many special events happening this year, which have included the first installation of a nationwide project, There But Not There. If you have any information, photographs or documents, relating to Tarporley in the Great War, we would love to hear from you. Please email tarporleyremembers2018@gmail.com

 

There But Not There art installation in St Helen's Church © Steve Davies, all other images courtesy of Tarporley Remembers 2018.

 

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