On Sunday 10th November 2019 a Roll of Honour for the men of Doxey who fell in the World Wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 was dedicated at Doxey Parish Church by the vicar Martin Strang. On it were the names of 10 men who died as a result of serving in WW1 and one in WW2. The names are :
The research for the Roll of Honour was carried out on behalf of Doxey Parish Council by Ken Allman and Andrew Johnson. The result of their work is documented on another page (click on a name to view).
Doxey's commenoration, over 100 years after the end of WW1, has come about as a consequence of local government boundary changes. All the names on the Roll already appear on memorials in Seighford Church and/or Victoria Square Stafford. Only now are they given a 'Doxey' identity. Some background on the existing memorials and Roll of Honour is provided in two articles written by Neil Thomas.
Today Doxey is a civil and ecclesiastical parish in the town of Stafford with over 1,400 houses and a population of around 2,500.
A century ago it was much smaller. The census of 1911 lists 427 people as living in 106 houses along what is now the main road. Some of the houses were unoccupied on census day so the total resident population might have been higher, perhaps 450.
The village had been part of Seighford parish since the Middle Ages and was mentioned as Dochesig in the Domesday Book of 1086. Most of the houses had been built fairly recently, between 1890 and 1910.
The present system of numbering the houses consecutively -- beginning on the southern side of the road travelling west from Stafford towards Seighford and then turning back to continue along the north side -- had not been adopted in 1911.
Instead, most houses had names or were numbered as part of terraces with names that are no longer used. Number 50, Doxey still bears a faint sign indicating Hawthorne Terrace. Opposite was Ventnor Terrace including the houses from the junction with The Crescent to the top of the bank between the two sets of traffic lights.
Many of these houses still bear their original names, often with the years in which they were built. Only a few of these names are still used in official documents.
In 1917 the Borough of Stafford was extended to include nearly all of these houses. A boundary post at the junction of Greensome Lane and the main road still marks what remained the boundary with Seighford civil parish until 2003.
From this small community at least ten men went to war between 1914 and 1918 never to return, or to come back so severely wounded that they died later.
If a similar proportion of today’s population of Doxey were to die in some tragic calamity, the total would exceed 50 -- even allowing for the fact that more people live longer and are over the age of eligibility for military service.
Some of those who fell in the Great War are commemorated on the war memorial erected in St Chad’s Church, Seighford, in 1919.
Others are commemorated on the borough war memorial erected in Victoria Square, Stafford, in 1922. Some are commemorated on both.
Doxey itself had no memorial of its fallen. The village remained part of Seighford ecclesiastical parish until 1936. The present Church of St Thomas and St Andrew was not built until 1975.
The memorial unveiled today is intended to fill that gap. Much of the research into the names inscribed on it was carried out by the late Ken Allman, who is commemorated on the back of the plaque.
It is a fitting reminder of those from an earlier generation who lost their lives in war.
NEIL THOMAS (10th Nov 2019)
When I was eight years old, my school-teacher asked everyone in the class (about 30) whether we had any relatives who were killed in the First World War.
This must have been in November 1968, the 50th anniversary of the Armistice of 1918 which brought the slaughter of the trenches to an end.
It meant little to me then but I was sure I had an ancestor or some other relative who had died “for King and Country” in that terrible conflict which I did not understand.
When I got home from school, I asked my mother the same question. With some reluctance, she told me that my grandmother’s elder brother had been killed in the war.
I do not recall her telling me any details of how my great-uncle had died more than 40 years before I was born. Perhaps she did not know.
But I remember clearly her telling me that I was never to mention this to my grandmother. I never did.
My grandmother was born on May 1st, 1904. I was born on the same day in 1960, so I never had any difficulty remembering her birthday. She died in 1987.
A few years ago, my uncle (my late mother’s brother) asked me what I knew about his Uncle George’s death in the Great War. I told him the very little I have already mentioned.
He went off and discovered more information, although it is very scanty: George Parkes was recruited in the family’s home village of Brewood into the Royal Artillery in 1914 and served as a driver in Flanders. He was killed in 1918 and is buried in a cemetery near Ypres, in Belgium.
He was 22 years old. By this time the Parkes family had moved to Stafford and he is commemorated on the Borough War Memorial in Victoria Square.
His death had a devastating effect on his mother, my great grandmother, whom I never knew, although my mother did. Other tragedies befell the family at around the same time. My uncle says a photograph of her in later years shows her looking much older than she actually was.
No one who fought in the First World War is alive today. Most of those who knew them are now dead and those few who remain are very old.
But I suspect I am not alone in finding the reality of that terrible conflict worth remembering because the memory of it was so painful to the grandmother I loved.
NEIL THOMAS (10th Nov 2019)
|Amended : 15-11-19|