On Christmas Eve 2018 Alf Croston unveiled the new Parish memorial to the fallen from World War 1 on the Village Green. David Cummings acted as compere on behalf of the Parish Council, and gave the background for this new commemorative memorial funded by the Parish Council & other contributors from the Parish. Alf Croston unveiled the beautifully crafted wreath of metal poppies each carrying the initials of the 51 men who died in the Great War who were connected with the Parish. The original war memorial on the Church Green has only 39 names, and it is a mystery why the other names were missed off. Many of these men are even buried in Commonwealth Graves in the churchyard, whilst others are included on the church memorial but not on the war memorial. The Rector, Revd. Dr Stefan Collier also took part in the ceremony with prayers and a dedication.
We hope that the recent research done by members of the Christleton Local History Group for the Christleton Great War Stories Project will finally right this apparent wrong. Congratulations to the Parish Council for funding this memorial and placing it on the Village Green, where the original memorial cross was initially intended to be sited.
Exciting developments have taken place following the Remembrance Day Service in the village on 11th November 2018. The Local History group have been contacted by family members of three of the men involved in the Great War and as a result, new information has come to light about the men and the village. A portrait of 2nd Lt Walter Handley RWF in Army Uniform was received from his family in Derbyshire. Walter had been a young man from Christleton who travelled to America as a Missionary, and became a Minister in the Church of America. When war was declared he came back to serve his country, and was killed in France in 1918.
Other exciting images have emerged of 2nd Lt Edward Radcliffe Porritt, Kings Liverpool Regt. who died on the Somme in 1916, and his family. Thanks to members of the family now living in Surrey, we know much more about him and the family story. In addition to photographs of Radcliffe in his army service, we are also able to identify Radcliffe, his mother Ada, father Edward, brother Jack and sister Mary, from village photographs from our Cullimore collection. It was due to Radcliffe’s death that the new Village Institute was built. Mary was distraught at his death, and insisted that she be taken to France to serve with the YMCA, helping family members from the Kings Liverpool Regt. who were visiting their wounded loved ones. Before the war Radcliffe had been working with his father Edward in the family Cotton Business in Liverpool, but he was also an adventurer and climbed the Matterhorn as a teenager, an amazing feat in those days of limited climbing equipment. The Porritt Family lived at The Grange in Village Road, and Jack & family at High Walls in Birch Heath Lane. Edward Porritt had been in the Cotton trade for 40years and was made President of the Liverpool Cotton Association in 1922.
We were also delighted to welcome Edward & Louis Ebden grandson and great grandson of Lt Michael du Cray pilot of the aeroplane in which 2nd Lt Norman Wildig from Little Heath Lane was killed. They travelled to the village from Ledbury in Herefordshire to attend the Remembrance Day Service.
With thanks to Jon Edmonds, Ben Paton and Edward Ebden for their contributions to this story and Gerry Lockley for his photography.
Esward Radcliffe Porrit
Jack, Mary and Radcliffe Porrit
Edward , Ada, Jack and Radcliffe Porritt
Porrit Family at High Walls
Edward and Louis Ebden
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