Daventry heroes of First World War commemorated with a moving tribute

Councillor Malcolm Ogle, left, presents the First World War record to the town's mayor Mike Arnold after a recent meeting of Daventry Town Council.
Councillor Malcolm Ogle, left, presents the First World War record to the town's mayor Mike Arnold after a recent meeting of Daventry Town Council.

Soldiers from Daventry who lost their lives in the First World War have been remembered with new hand-written crosses on their graves in France and Belgium.

Daventry Town Council has also been presented with a record of remembrance for each of the Daventry men who died in the conflict in France and Belgium.

The ambitious project was led by Daventry Town Council member Malcolm Ogle, the councillor for Abbey South ward, who made it his mission to visit the headstones and memorials of the First World War soldiers named on Daventry’s War Memorial to place a hand-written remembrance cross.

During a trip across Europe last April, two of Councillor Ogle’s friends placed 11 crosses at graves in France.

Later that summer, accompanied by his wife Anne, Councillor Ogle spent a week in Albert, France, making 100-mile round trips to visit the graves and memorials of 26 Daventry men whose names appear on the town's War Memorial.

A further nine crosses were placed in the Holy Cross churchyard in Daventry.

This February, Councillor Ogle returned to France to place 75 further crosses, 28 of which would commemorate Daventry men.

He and his wife also visited Belgium to do the same task. In total, they covered more than 2,500 miles and visited 108 locations to place 222 crosses.

Councillor Ogle explained: "I believe that out of a possible 65 Daventry men honoured in France, we have placed a cross at every single one and out of a possible 23 men in Belgium, we have visited 22.

"As the 23rd Daventry man was too far away to visit, I enlisted the help of a lady who lives close to the cemetery in Charleroi, Belgium, to whom I mailed the cross for her to place.

"This ensured that every Daventry man whose name appears on Daventry’s War Memorial who died in France and Belgium during the Great War of 1914 to 1918, or who is buried in Daventry Holy Cross churchyard, has been visited and honoured."

The Daventry war heroes are also commemorated in a new record compiled by Councillor Ogle. The record can be viewed at Daventry Museum in New Street.

Councillor Ogle officially presented the record to the mayor of Daventry Mike Arnold at a town council meeting on Monday, June 24.

Councillor Arnold said: "We thank Malcolm for his dedication to commemorating the lives of the Daventry men lost in the Great War and the time he has taken to ensure each of them is individually honoured.

"The record he has compiled is a moving tribute to the men from our town who fought and died in France and Belgium, and I was proud to accept it on behalf of the town council.”

Councillor Ogle thanked the town council, Phipps Brewery of Kingswell Street, Northampton, and Weedon Bec Parish Council in Daventry district for providing donations for the purchase of the crosses and to local historian Gerry Thompson for sharing research about the soldiers from Daventry.