John Broom is the author of Fight the Good Fight: Voices of Faith from the First World War, published by Pen and Sword in 2015.
Whilst revisiting the secluded but welcoming St. Mary Magdalene Church at Walkeringham, North Nottinghamshire on a crisp winter day in February 2016, I came across a new addition to the war commemoration memorabilia in the church.
St Mary Magdalene, Walkeringham (c) John Broom
Whilst restoring the First World War Roll of Honour for display during the years of centenary commemorations, a beautiful hand made prayer board had been discovered lodged behind the frame. On it, each member of the Sunday School had been asked to nominate a male relative on active service, and to state which service that relative was in.
Walkeringham’s Roll of Honour
The churchwarden had asked for comments as to whether the prayer board should be placed back where it was found, behind the Roll of Honour, or to be separately mounted for display. For me the answer is not in question. This prayer board provides a further connection to the people of a hundred years ago, and demonstrates the bonds between children and men on active service being strengthened by the Christian faith. However perhaps you may have a view you may wish to put forward? The contact details can be found here:-
Children’s Corner Prayer Board (c) John Broom
Bonds between children and those in uniform in an educational context have been explored in an excellent new book by Dr Barry Blades, Roll of Honour: Schooling and the Great War (Pen and Sword, 2015). However this is the first example I have seen in the hundreds of churches I have visited of such a prayer board for Sunday School Scholars.
Sadly four of the men being prayed for did not return home safely from the war. The small Nottinghamshire village sustained a death list of 26 men, with 4 more being found by subsequent research on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.
I thought it appropriate to transcribe the names on the board
|Margaret Parkrin||Sapper G. Valentine||Royal Engineers|
|Thomas Hill||Pte. John H. Hill||King’s Liverpool Rgt.|
|Roland Dawson||L/C W. Dawson||Sherwood Rangers|
|Alice Spray||Pte. F.H. Parke||Leicester Rgt|
|Gladys Greaves||Corp. G.S. Garrard||Royal Engineers|
|Albert Willerton||Pte. J.W. Willerton||East Surrey Rgt|
|John Spencer Lockwood||Pte. J. Lockwood||A.S.C.|
|Vera Willerton||Corp. J.T. Mackfall||Royal Engineers|
|Charles Spencer||Pte. H. Spencer||Lincolns|
|Edith Daniels||Pte. H. Lobley||Sherwood Foresters|
|Ethel West||Pte. F. West||Lancashire Fusiliers|
|Eric Taylor||Pte. W.T. Adams||R.A.M.C.|
|Alice Horberry||Pte. T. Horberry||Derbyshire Yeomanry|
|May Walker||Pte. George Walker||Fourth Leicester|
|Myrintha Cave||Sgt. Arthur Shaw||Sherwood Foresters|
|Sarah & Nellie Spencer||Driver A. Anderson||King’s Liverpool Reg|
|Leslie Pikett||Pte. Charles Otter||Royal Field Auxiliary|
|Hilda Spencer||Pte. W. Davison & Pte. W, Clark||Notts & Derby & 8th Lincoln Reg|
|Philip Robinson||Pte. Edward Stamp|
|Albert E., Charlotte & Mabel Lockwood||Pte. J. Lockwood||Mechanical Transport|
|Geoffrey Farnsworth||Robert Pinck & George Playford||Training Reserve & Royal Flying Corp.|
|Tom Lancaster||Corp. J.G. Lancaster||Army Vet Corp.|
Thomas Horberry, Henry Lobley, Charles Otter and Harry Spencer were the men who did not return.
Perhaps you, the reader, know of further examples? If so I would love to know.
(Dr. Stephen Parker, author of Faith on the Home Front: Aspects of Church Life and Popular Religion in Birmingham, 1939-1945 (Peter Lang, 2005), has responded by saying he has come across many examples of prayers for Sunday School scholars in Birmingham parish magazines during his research. There was a regular special service in one city centre church for this purpose.)
As a further point of interest in the church, there are two separate war memorials containing exactly the same names; one made of wood and one of bronze. Again, this is very rare in my experience. I wonder why two such memorials are there? Perhaps a benefactor provided the funds for the bronze one as they thought it would be more robust than the wooden one?
Wooden War Memorial, St. Mary Magdalene, Walkeringham (c) John Broom
Bronze War Memorial, (c) John Broom