Church aims to end mystery of WW1 veterans

Jane Hogg at LOngthorpe Church where there are several memorials to World War 1 soldiers EMN-180516-153847009
Jane Hogg at LOngthorpe Church where there are several memorials to World War 1 soldiers EMN-180516-153847009

A Peterborough church is looking to end the mystery of why some First World War veterans are remembered on its memorial board as it plans to honour their service later this year.

St Botolph’s Church in Thorpe Road, Longthorpe, has 63 names on its memorial board but is desperately seeking more information on the people, including 12 whose backgrounds are unknown.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the war ending and St Botolph’s is planning to honour the men with a special commemorative event on Saturday, November 3.

Church historian Jane Hogg said: “The World War One memorial board in St Botolph’s Church, Longthorpe, is something of a mystery.

“The board has 63 names on it. The inscriptions put on when it was first put up in 1920 are beautiful, but unclear. It was generally thought that it listed men who had died.

“A sermon preached in 2014, imagining the horrific effect on such a tiny village of the loss of so many men, was printed in the church magazine. The family of one, Cecil Wisbey, got in touch to say that he had actually lived until 1991!

“Cecil lived in Alderman’s Drive and was a member of the Longthorpe Scout troop, though he had never lived in the village.

“So not only did some of the men survive, but some of them didn’t even come from Longthorpe!”

Jane said that there are 12 men whose backgrounds are unknown, including one who died.

She added: “Why are they remembered in St Botolph’s Church? What did all those survivors do after the war?

“We have found some facts but there are still lots of gaps and many things which could be wrong.”

The full list of men, with some details of what the church has found out on them so far, is on the church website at www.longthorpechurch.org.uk.

Anybody with information on any of the 63 people on the board is asked to email Jane at stbotspewnews@gmail.com.