As November marks the centenary of the end of the First World War we will be marking the occasion with “They Went to War”, the story of those from the village who left to serve their country. In addition to telling the stories of those who died we will also look at those who survived. We will also raise the question of why, although we have a war memorial remembering those who gave their lives, we don’t have a Roll of Honour celebrating those who fought but returned. Should we do something about this?
If you have any items of WWI interest, please do bring them along to share with everyone.
All are welcome so do join us at 7.45pm on Wed 21 Nov. Entry Fee £2, including tea/coffee and biscuits.
As the centenary of the end of WWI approaches, we come to the last of the Wickham Skeith men to die in the conflict.
Leonard Davey was born on 16thMay 1895 to Charles and Louisa (née Hawes). In the 1901 census he was living with his parents, a brother & four sisters in a cottage “near the Green Mere” [ie the Grimmer]. He served in the 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment which moved to France early in 1916. Leonard died from his wounds on 18 April 1918 & is buried at Mendinghem cemetery near Ypres. Mendinghem sounds a Flemish name, however, like Dozinghem and Bandaghem, these were the popular names given by the troops to casualty clearing stations.
The 11th Suffolks were on the front line south of Ypres during the German Lys offensive in April 1918. This was conceived by Gen. Ludendorf with the aim of capturing Ypres & driving the British back to the Channel ports & out of the war. Initially the Germans broke through the Allied lines on 9 April & during the following two days the 11th Suffolks, along with their sister battalion the 12th Suffolks, were involved in desperate fighting to defend the line. It is perhaps at this time that Leonard was wounded & evacuated the 25 miles to Mendinghem where he later died.
During the months of March & April 1918 over 200 men from the 11th Suffolks were killed from a battalion strength of less than 1000.
If you have a story to tell or would like some help in finding out about a relative in WWI please contact Pete Davidson.