These notes were made following a holiday in The Barn at Farthingales, next to the village church. I was much impressed with the War Memorial in the churchyard (the one with the polished brass cross). The subsequent research was primarily done for my own interest, being a study of a typical Kentish village’s losses in the First World War.
I realise that research in greater detail may have already been carried out locally. My notes are based solely on the bare facts in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) records as found on the Internet, with added assumptions based on my experience as a military historian with a particular interest in that war. I must warn that my notes will contain a lot of 'probablys’. A search of contemporary local newspapers and research of other sources would firm up’ the detail.
In particular. the local press would add much background material as well as showing the association between the village and those men whose next-of-kin are shown by the CWGC as living elsewhere. (The CWGC next-of-kin locations were those valid when the 1920s records were finalised.)
Further information would come from:
The War Diaries of units originals at the Public Record Office (PRO) at Kew, but copies of Buffs battalions probably held at RHQ, Queen’s Own Buffs, Lowe Barracks, Canterbury. Contact the Regimental historian.
The publication, Soldiers Died In The Great War 1914-1919, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).
Soldiers’ individual service records, about 50 per cent of which are now available to researchers at the PRO.
It might be helpful to point out, when reading my notes, that every man who died in the war either has a firmly identified grave or, if his body was mutilated beyond recognition or his battlefield grave was later lost or destroyed, then his name will be recorded on one of the Memorials To The Missing which are located near the various battlefield sectors.
A study of Nonington’s First Word War dead shows an unusually large proportion of very early wartime volunteers in response to Field Marshal Lord Kitchener's famous appeal in August 1914. One wonders whether the fact that Kitchener's home was in nearby Barharn influenced this. There do not seem to be many, or possibly any, conscripts when conscription was introduced later in the war despite the fact that agricultural workers were not exempt from conscription as in the Second World War.
A further interesting conclusion is that, while most English communities suffered heavy casualties in the well-known pitched battles of the Somme in I 916 and Passchendaele in 1917, Nonington’s heavy losses were on the lesser known battlefield of Loos earlier in the war - a direct result of the rush of early volunteering.
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Books by Martin Middlebrook
Records kept by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission can be viewed at the CWGC Website. If you wish to view a local record here, click on the name in the list below.
The Roll of Honour - Nonington, Kent
World War I
|Frank Richard ASHMAN||Douglas William HAMMOND|
|Alfred AVERY||T HOPE|
|Frederick BAILEY||Henry Stanton JONES (link to Roll of Honour.com)|
|Robert Henry BATCHELDER||W KINGSFORD MM|
|Charles Leonard BEER||A W MARSH|
|John CASHMAN||Thomas Jesse MARTIN|
|Edwin CAUSER||Herbert James MAXTED|
|John CAUSER||Earnest James PARTRIDGE|
|W G CHIDWICK||Eric Frank PENN|
|Albert Thomas COWELL||Geoffrey Mark PENN|
|Frederick H DAY||Thomas George SIMMONDS|
|Harry (Henry) MARLEY||Alfred Leonard SUTTON|
|John SAWKINS||John WHYBOURN|
World War II
|Leonard Ambrose ASHBY|