Surprise finds from Wenhaston WI research into war dead

The WI memorial group team

The WI memorial group team - Credit: Archant

Research carried out by a branch of the Women’s Institute into their village’s war dead has led to the discovery that 15 more men perished during the First World War than originally assumed

The work by members of the Wenhaston WI, which has been turned into a book, also reveals that one person whose name is on the village’s memorial did not die in the Great War.

Janice Claxton, who led the project, said they had been inspired as the group only had a list of names from the village war memorial that meant very little to the group.

She added: “So we decided to find out about them and turn it into the book.”

The book, entitled Wenhaston War Memorial The Stories Behind The Names, has been flying off the shelves since its launch. Only 100 copies were printed and only a handful are left.

Mrs Claxton said: “Finding out about all these extra men was interesting.”

One man on the memorial, Victor David Cooper, didn’t die in the First World War.

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Mrs Claxton said: “He moved to Chester, we’re not sure when. In 1911 he was in Chester.

“We imagine his father didn’t know where he was so assumed he died, but he died in 1939 of silicosis of the lungs. It was fascinating to find that out but nice in a way to know that his father only lost three of his four sons.

Of the 15 extra men who died, four were fishermen, in 1914. The boat they were in was one of the first mined by the Germans, five miles off the coast of Lowestoft.

The 15 extra names were recently called out during the village’s remembrance service.

Mrs Claxton said: “I was so pleased they were called out at the service.

“It was very rewarding actually, and very time consuming, but I have learnt an awful lot. When we took it on I had no idea how it was going to take over my life!”

The book is just £10, and profits will be spent on a new memorial for the 15 extra men.

To purchase a book, email or call Mrs Claxton on 01502 478158.