After the Armistice

The Armistice was a ceasefire agreement signed in Ferdinand Foch’s railway carriage in the Forest of Compiègne 37 miles (60 km) north of Paris.  The agreement was signed at 5 am on 11 November by representatives of France, Britain and Germany as a prelude to peace negotiations.  Fighting was to stop at exactly 11 am that day, ie the eleventh hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918.

 

Most war memorials, like the main village memorials in Weaverham and Hartford, refer to those in the parish who gave their lives “in the Great War 1914-1918”.  However, many others, like the one in the former Methodist Church in Weaverham or the former Bryn Chapel memorial in Gorstage Cemetery refer to “The European War 1914-1919” or “The Great War 1914-1919” acknowledging the date when the war officially ended with a Peace Treaty – The Treaty of Versailles signed on 28 June 1919.

 

The main Weaverham village memorial is situated outside the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin in the centre of the village. It seems that none (or very few) of the men who are buried in Commonwealth War Graves in St Mary’s Churchyard are mentioned on the memorial.  Most memorials were erected following WW1 by local communities because there were no graves for families to visit.  Most people in those days did not travel abroad or even go far in England.  They needed somewhere to visit. It might be assumed therefore that following WW1 those families that had a grave to visit did not ask for their loved one’s names to be put on the memorial.  Unfortunately, as time has passed the graves are not acknowledged  by the community as much as the memorials these days, although the cadets do put a poppy on the graves on Remembrance Day.

 

13th February 1919

Sapper Samuel Ashbrooke 79162, 185th Coy, Royal Engineers who was 45 when he died of pneumonia on 13th February 1919 and is not mentioned on the Weaverham village memorial.  He was the son of George and Ellen Ashbrooke who lived in Cheshire.  His widow later remarried.  Her married name was Annie Broadhurst.  She lived with her new husband at 3 West Road, Weaverham.  Samuel is buried in a Commonwealth War Grave in St Mary’s Churchyard, Weaverham. (2507)

 

4th May 1919

Bombardier Edgar Price Woodward, 24763, 149th BDE. Royal Field Artillery who died on 4th May 1919 several months after the Armistice was signed.  He was the 26 year old son of John and Mary Woodward of 23 Church Street, Weaverham.  He is not mentioned on either of the two village memorials.  He is buried in a Commonwealth War Grave in St Mary’s Churchyard, Weaverham. (2660)

 

5th January 1921

2nd Corporal Charles Walter Heald, MSM, 16797, Royal Engineers was born at Castle, Northwich in 1885 and was the son of Alfred and Agnes.  He married Edith Hignett at St Mary’s Church, Weaverham on 6th March 1912.  He first joined up at Chester age 22 years 8 months on 27th October 1907.  His occupation was a surveyor and draughtsman.  Charles was discharged from the army in September 1909 on the termination of his 5th period of engagement.  He rejoined the army on 30th May 1910 for a further period of 10 years and was transferred to the army reserve on 24th December 1912.  Charles was mobilised on 6th August 1914 at Gosport and posted to the 42nd Company Royal Engineers.  He embarked to France on 5th December 1914.  He was admitted to 51 Casualty Clearing Station, France on 5th December 1918 (no record can be found of the reason).  10th July 1919 he was demobilised at Chatham to his home with Edith at 6, West Road, Weaverham.   He was 36 when he died on 5th January 1919.  Charles is buried in a Commonwealth War Grave in St Mary’s Churchyard, Weaverham but is not mentioned on either of the village war memorials.

 

 

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