Find out about Burton Latimer's fallen soldiers

The history of all 104 of Burton Latimer's fallen First World War heroes has been brought to life in the town centre.

Friday, 26th October 2018, 6:00 am
The signs on display around Millennium Garden. NNL-181025-160810005

Tony Dacre, a Burton Latimer Heritage Society member, spent 15 months researching the lives of every man from the town who was killed in action between 1914 and 1918.

His work is on display at a special exhibition in the Civic Centre in High Street, which runs until December 1, as part of the 100th anniversary of the end of the conflict.

Yesterday (Thursday) signs showcasing the history of each soldier, with a picture of them where possible, were put on display around Millennium Garden.

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L-R: Tony Dacre, Linda Gregory, Ken Moate and Les Facer. NNL-181025-160830005

Tony said: “We’ve got the war memorial and that’s great but it is just a list of names.

“Through these displays we’re telling their story and bringing it to everybody.”

At least 500 men from Burton Latimer went to war when the town had a population of about 3,500 including women, children and the elderly.

Many were brothers or relatives with the youngest soldier to die aged just 17 and the oldest aged 44.

Three of the Burton Latimer soldiers to be awarded military medals. NNL-181025-160841005

Ten of the 104 soldiers to die were lost on two individual days.

Burton Latimer lost six men at the Battle of Aubers Ridge on May 9, 1915.

Five of the men were from the 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment and one was from the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment.

The town lost a a further four men at the Battle of Trones Wood on July 14, 1916, all of them from the 6th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment.

The signs on display around Millennium Garden. NNL-181025-160820005

Tony used the 1911 Census as a starting point before painstakingly uncovering the lives of all of the men, a process which he said he loved doing.

He said: “All of their stories are interesting in their own ways and every person has been a challenge.

“A lot of these people would have been related and many will still have distant relations in the town today.”

The last Burton Latimer soldier to be killed in action was Ernest Arthur Bleaney who was killed in France on October 1, 1918, although many would have died from the effects of war afterwards.

Some of the pictures and artefacts on display at the Civic Centre. NNL-181025-160759005

At least four military medals were awarded with three given to Private Frank Hodson, Private Francis Compton and Private George Sturgess.

The exhibition is open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10am to 1pm.

It is packed full of artefacts, slides and film shows, newspaper cuttings from the time and more detailed versions of the soldiers’ history than on the public signs.

Other pieces include the town’s original war memorial and death pennies, including that of Tony’s great uncle Ernest Marsden Dacre who is buried in Kettering.

Linda Gregory, Burton Latimer Heritage Society’s events and projects group co-ordinator, said: “Burton Latimer lost a generation of young men and the impact that had on the community was huge.

“They all went to war thinking they’d be back by Christmas but many of them never returned.

“We’re telling their stories and the exhibition has had a great reception.”

The society is also linking with St Mary’s Primary Academy nearby to help Year 5 and 6 pupils learn about war heroes.

The signs around Millennium Garden were put up after Kettering-based business KenSigns offered to do them at his own expense.

Owner Ken Moate said: “We are reminding people just how many people the town lost.

“They haven’t been up long and people are already stopping to have a look.”

Les Facer, chairman of the Burton Latimer branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL), was helping Ken put the signs up yesterday.

He said: “It’s absolutely brilliant, it’s going to have such an impact on the town itself.

“I am not from Burton Latimer but the town certainly gave a lot for the war.”

Burton Latimer’s RBL is currently short of a Poppy Appeal co-ordinator.

To volunteer call Les on 01536 398503.