My grandfather, Thomas Lakelin, was a farmer and he was a grocer in M.P. Jones’ shop. So he didn’t fight in the war, but he had to go and join up with the Territorials – the Reserves. I have a photograph of them exercising in Pontesford and also coming up Station Road in Pontesbury.
I also have a tin that was sent to all the soldiers who were fighting in the First World War. It has some inscriptions: ‘Christmas 1914’, ‘Peace’, ‘Russia’, ‘Imperial Britannia’. It belonged to my late wife’s father, Mr Harry Lakelin, from Longden. He trained in Ireland, then he ended up in Belgium.
I have a photograph of Harry dedicating the war memorial at Longden church. There is also a lychgate there.
When my wife’s mother was at school all pupils were sent an Empire Day Certificate, which is inscribed: ‘Schoolchildren of the Empire… Our brave soldiers and sailors’.
I had the privilege of going down to London this year to see the display of poppies – one for every soldier that was killed in the First World War. I think we should remember these things – a dedication to the people that have passed away in the war: to remind us and to hope that it never happens again.
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