The Families of the Fallen


An introduction

Flackwell Heath War Memorial unveiling ceremony
(picture from SWOP website)

Flackwell Heath War Memorial after World War II
(picture from SWOP website)

The information compiled on the following pages has been collected from numerous websites, records and memories which commemorate the men who went to war between 1914 and 1918. The men listed on the War Memorial are only a small percentage of the village men who actually went to fight in The Great War and although some families were lucky, with their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons all returning home others, sadly, were not. Some, indeed, were particularly unlucky such as the Wilk(e)s, the Smiths, and the Summerfields who lost at least two sons per family and, even more especially, the Rogers family who lost four of their five boys. So nearly everyone in the village would have had a friend or relative injured or traumatised by the war and many of the surviving men, on their return, found their lives irreparably changed. Some were unable to adjust to their disability, men such as Joseph Jeremiah Smith who took his own life after the war had finished but who is remembered on the Memorial as a later casualty of the 'war to end all wars'. And what of poor Hubert Secker who fought, was wounded, shipwrecked and survived, only to die of flu on his return. He was not the only casualty of the 1918 flu epidemic as Ruth Bowler's research will testify.

To enter the site straight away, please click on the poppy below. Or scroll down to continue reading.

Families with many of these surnames still live in the village today. Since many of the men listed on the memorial were unmarried at the time of their deaths these later families will be the descendants of the men's brothers or uncles. We were a close knit community back in 1914 so descendants from sisters and aunts, who now carry a different surname, may still be directly linked to 'our men on the memorial'. Are you one of these?

This research is incredibly time consuming involving many, many hours of detective work. If you find any inaccuracies in the trees please do not hesitate to contact me. As you can see, it is still ongoing. I hope, eventually, to add a Loudwater map along with the relevant family trees for the Loudwater men but this, I fear, is still a long way off.

Please click to contact me.

And what of the names who are missing from the memorial? Some may be remembered on other memorials due to their location at the time of their enlistment, others are remembered on family gravestones after their sons or grandsons moved and died elsewhere but some of the missing men seem to have no inscription at all. Did they have no family left here to report the omission?

Whatever our feelings on war itself, these men went away to fight for King and Country, willingly or fearfully. To some it was a great adventure, a chance to change mill work or farming chores with the opportunity to see other lands and experience a man's world, to be in uniform and attract the girls. For married men it must have been a dreadful parting with a completely different mixture of emotions. What would our own feelings be if it was to happen to us today?

So, just how many of the men on the Flackwell Heath War Memorial were from long established village families? And how many were 'furreners' from other towns and counties who had come to the Wye valley in search of work in the paper mills and timber workshops which provided employment for so many? So far my research has revealed that 36 out of the 56 names listed in Ruth Bowler's research were related to at least one other family on the memorial. In many cases they were related to several other families. These connections tend to form into clusters, most notably the Weedons, the Summerfields and the farming Smith family (as opposed to the fruiterer Smiths) who were all closely connected. These three families then interconnect with many of the other names on the memorial. The four Rogers boys would appear to be a self contained unit with no immediate links to any of the other families. However, a distant Bowler/Rogers link back in Monks Risborough may provide more clues in the future.

The remaining families who appear to have no immediate connections are Adams, Beal, Brooks, Easden, Glenister, Goodacre, Harvey (possibly), Hills, Keefe, Pepper, Purchase, Stone-Wootton, Swanborough and Tripp. However, this may change as my research continues. Teddy Smith still remains a mystery but as there are so many Smith connections I feel sure that we will resolve his tree in due course.

So the family trees on the following pages, many still incomplete, will provide some indication of village life back in 1914. Some trees may prove to be inaccurate as some have been exceedingly difficult to piece together, for example the Smiths! As a consequence some of the locations where the men lived can only be guessed at. The 1911 census, which was the last census to be taken before the outbreak of war, is also weak on recording individual addresses. Most residents were simply recorded as living at the name of a house or terrace, followed by Flackwell Heath. We didn't have any real need for house numbers back in 1911!

So please enter this site by clicking on the poppy above with a view to finding out more about 'our men on the memorial' but also with a view to helping us find out more about the families themselves and those who were left on the Home Front. Lest We Forget.

Sally Scagell 2013, updated April 2014
Family tree pictures and map design copyright of Flackwell Heath and Loudwater Local History Group
Back to home page