Walking through towns and villages, people will probably pause at the war memorial noting the names of those who answered the call but failed to return. Sometimes you can that the same surname cropping up again and again, which makes me wonder just how much pain one family might have endured. Today we take the presence of such local war memorials for granted, but as The Empires of the Dead, How one man’s vision led to the creation of the WW1 War Graves, by David Crane explains. the idea of local memorials was far from the government’s plans, although it was eventually accepted that bereaved families needed a focal point for their grief, as there was no grave in the churchyard where they could pay their respects.
Whilst there are approximately 68,000 war memorials in the UK, not every community has a war memorial. Some communities were fortunate as all the men who enlisted returned home. These villages are known as Thankful Villages, sometimes called Blessed Villages, and there are apparently 52 such villages. Of their number, 14 villages are “Doubly Thankful” as they suffered no losses in WW2, Upper Slaughter in Gloucestershire being one such example, despite its name. No Scottish Thankful Village has been identified
A project is being undertaken by Darren Hayman, who is visiting each of the Thankful Villages. He is creating a piece of music and a short film for every one, which focusses on village life. His website has lots of interesting information on the villages he has visited so far: http://thankfulvillages.co.uk/
You can read more about Thankful Villages here: