War memorial circa 1930
LITCHBOROUGH WAR MEMORIAL
The War Memorial is on the Village Green and is overlooked by the Parish Church of Saint Martin’s, Litchborough. The memorial was Dedicated on 1st January 1920, and is a Cross of Weldon Stone on an octagonal-tiered base of Yorkshire Limestone. The names of 8 men from the village who were killed in the First World War are recorded - 3 of those men have No Known Grave.
TO KEEP IN MIND
THOSE WHO FROM THIS PLACE
GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR
COUNTRY AND FOR THE RIGHT
IN THE GREAT WAR
1914 – 1919
RICHARD VARNEY ARNOLD
WILLIAM WALTER BILLINGHAM
FRANK W.B. HURLEY
EDWARD GABRIEL LESTER
ARTHUR HENRY NORRIS
GEORGE JAMES WESTON
In addition to the 8 men of Litchborough who were killed in the First World War and whose names are shown on the village War Memorial, there are 9 other men of Litchborough who served in H.M Forces. The Rector of Litchborough issued a Parish Newsletter and during the years 1914 - 1918 there was a section in the Newsletter called “News from Litchborough Lads at the Front”.
Fred ADAMS: Frederick Charles. Born 1897 Litchborough. Private. Fought on the Western Front. He was posted as “Missing” and later reported as a Prisoner of War in Germany. Church Bell Tower Captain of St Martin’s Litchborough in 1926 – he rang the Number 2 Bell. He was a Farm Labourer.
Harry BILLINGHAM: Born 1896 Litchborough. Private 6th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment. Fought on the Western Front.
Harry CLIFTON: Born 1886 Litchborough. Sergeant, Army Service Corps. Based at Maldon, Essex.
Wilfred DARBY: Born 1890 Litchborough. Private. He was a Motor Mechanic.
John HOWARD: Born 1894 Litchborough. Sapper, Royal Engineers. Fought against the Turks in the Dardanelles, and on the Western Front. Church bell-ringer at St Martin’s Litchborough in 1927 – he rang the Number 4 Bell. Died 1955. Buried in St Martin’s Litchborough churchyard.
Fred HART: Fred James. Born 1879 Flore, Northamptonshire. Corporal. Married to Elizabeth Hart. He was a Domestic Horse Groom.
Harry IVENS: Born 1890 Litchborough. Served in the Navy.
Tom THORNEYCROFT: Thomas. Born 27 May 1877 Litchborough. Private
6th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment. Fought on the Western Front 1916 to 1918. He was a Shepherd. He used to speak short French phrases when having a drink in the “Old Red Lion” in Litchborough after the War. Died 1970.
S.T. WHITE: Private. (Believed to be Thomas White, born in 1896 in Wolverton, Buckinghamshire. He was an Oil Merchant’s Assistant. In 1911 his father James White (born 1869 Towcester) was the Publican of the “Plough” pub, 18 Banbury Road, Litchborough where the family lived).
The 8 men of Litchborough whose names are on the Litchborough War memorial are:
EBENEZER ARNOLD: Died 17th February 1917 (aged 28); Private 6th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. Buried at Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt, Somme, France in Grave VI.G.2. He was the Son of John Arnold (Cattle Drover) and Elizabeth Arnold, and he was born in Litchborough in 1889. He was a Gardener.
RICHARD VARNEY ARNOLD: Died 10th June 1917 (aged 25); Private 7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. Buried at Brandhoek Military Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium in Grave I.K.26. He was the Son of Alfred Arnold (Farm Labourer) and Eleanor Arnold, and he was born in Litchborough in 1891. He was a Farm Labourer.
WILLIAM WALTER BILLINGHAM: Died 16th November 1915 (aged 23); Private 6th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. Buried at Point 110 Old Military Cemetery, Fricourt, Somme, France in Grave H.2. He was the Son of George Billingham (Farm Labourer) and Susan Billingham. He was born in Litchborough in 1893, and in 1901 his family lived at Wrighton’s farmhouse on the Towcester Road in Litchborough. He was a Horse Man on a farm.
WILLIAM DARKER: Died 9th May 1915 (aged 31); Private 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. He has No Known Grave, and his name is recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial at Ploegsteert, Ypres, Belgium on Panel 7. He was born in London in 1884. By 1901 he had moved to Litchborough and was living with his widowed Grandmother Eliza Stanton, nee Thorneycroft (born Litchborough 1836). He was a Farm Labourer.
FRANK WILLIAM HURLEY: Died 23rd October 1918 (aged 19); Private 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. Buried at Mazinghien Communal Cemetery, Cambrai, France. He was the Son of Thomas Hurley (Farmer) and Mary C. Hurley, and was born in Litchborough in 1899. His name is shown on his Parents’ gravestone in Litchborough churchyard. He was killed 19 days before the Armistice was signed on 11th November 1918.
EDWARD GABRIEL LESTER: Died 25th June 1917 (aged 29); Lieutenant
Central Ontario Regiment, 102nd Battalion Canadian Infantry. Buried Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France in Grave VII.A.21. He was born in Scotland, and he was the Son of the Rector of Litchborough Reverend John Moore Lester, and Grandson of General Frederick Lester, Bombay Artillery. Edward Gabriel Lester was educated at Rugby School and University College Oxford. At the outbreak of the War he was the Headmaster of the General Brock Elementary School in Vancouver, Canada and was married with a young daughter. His Father died on Christmas Eve 1919 whilst visiting his parishioners in Litchborough and he is buried in Litchborough churchyard; the Rector’s 6 sons all enlisted in the Army in World War One. Edward Gabriel Lester’s widow died in 1920 in California, and their orphaned daughter Katherine (born 1911) was adopted by the Hollywood film director Cecil B DeMille and his wife. Katherine later became a Hollywood actress and married the actor Anthony Quinn with whom she had 5 children.
ARTHUR HENRY NORRIS: Died 31st July 1917 (aged 27); Private 7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. He has No Known Grave, and his name is recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial at the Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium on Panels 43 and 45. He was the Son of Stephen Norris (Farm Labourer) and Fanny Norris (widowed by 1901). He was born in Litchborough in 1890, and he was the Great-Uncle of Rodney Hutchings (born Litchborough 1939) of Tystie Cottage, Litchborough. He was a Farm Waggoner. In 1916 he married Eliza Jane Alice Lantsbery at the Princess Street Baptist Chapel in Northampton. Eliza Jane Alice later remarried (George Wilkinson) and they had a Child.
GEORGE JAMES WESTON: Died 21 May 1917 (aged 17); Rifleman 18th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps. He enlisted at Northampton. He has No Known Grave, and his name is recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial at the Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium on Panels 51 and 53. He was the Son of George Weston (Tunnel Labourer, born Fosters Booth) and Sarah Weston (born Litchborough) and he was born in Greenwich, London in 1900. In 1911 he and his sister Phyllis Annie (born 1906) were living in Litchborough with their grandparents James and Ann Rickards.
A Church Service is held at the War Memorial at 11 a.m. on Remembrance Sunday in November, and the names of the 8 men of Litchborough are read out.
Litchborough Roll of Honour in Saint Martin’s, Litchborough for the 1939-45 War
Tom Bird – Northamptonshire Regiment
Bernard John Batchelor – Royal Air Force
Frederick John Manning – Royal Army Service Corps
John William Hutchings – Royal Army Service Corps
Reverend Charles Everitt Gerard Green – Kaffrarian Rifles (South Africa)
Louis Frederick Adams – Leicestershire Regiment
John William Butler – Sherwood Foresters
Wilfred Hitchman – Royal Corps of Signals
Harry Furniss – Grenadier Guards
Leslie Wilfred James Furniss – Pioneer Corps
Richard Batchelor – Royal Air Force
Cicely Betty Ivens – W.A.A.F.
Freda Ann Green – W.A.A.S. (South Africa)
Peter Charles Ivens – Royal Artillery
Will George Harriss – Royal Air Force
William Edward Cross – Pioneer Corps
Richard de Clanay Rennick – Royal Armoured Corps
George Robert Floyd – Royal Artillery
Frank Etheridge – Royal Armoured Corps
John Ronald Thorneycroft – Royal Air Force
Harry Batchelor – Royal Air Force
John William Cox – 13th/18th Hussars
Albert Sydney Masters – Royal Artillery
Ernest Wilfred Floyd – Royal Artillery
Donald Frederick Barker – Royal Navy
Edward Pittom – Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm
Muriel Frances Ivens – Q.A.I.M.N.S. (R)
William Frank Adams – Royal Army Service Corps
PRAISE BE TO GOD
ALL RETURNED SAFELY
NAMES OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE AIRCREW KILLED IN LITCHBOROUGH ON 24th NOVEMBER 1944
An R.A.F. Wellington Bomber (N.A. 783) was on a night training flight from 12 Operational Training Unit at R.A.F. Chipping Warden, Oxfordshire when an engine caught fire. The aircraft crashed in the field called Wayfurlong, opposite Wrighton’s farmhouse on the Towcester Road. The Aircrew all died in the crash.
Flight Sergeant T. Keenay – Pilot
Flight Sergeant R.P. St Leger – Navigator
Flight Sergeant H. Daniel – Bomb Aimer
Pilot Officer J.H. Povey – Wireless Operator
Flight Sergeant D.R. Puttick – Air Gunner