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THE FIRST WORLD WAR - INTRODUCTION Much is being done nationally, by the BBC and the Imperial War Museum among others, to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Our website is entirely concerned with what happened locally and this section records the men from Fordingbridge, Hampshire, and the surrounding villages who lost their lives during the First World War, many of whom have descendants still living in the area.The information is incomplete because three quarters of all First World War service records were destroyed by enemy action during the Second World War. In their absence, the information displayed here has been gathered using local knowledge from the families, forces war records, the War Graves Commission, census reports and local church registers. We are especially grateful for help from Antony Light and his local knowledge, from Carol Standeven & Richard Reeves of the New Forest Museum Library at Lyndhurst, and from our own Fordingbridge Museum. Research on many of the soldiers has been straightforward, but some have needed a great deal of ‘rummaging’ to pin them down. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in these entries is correct. If you know otherwise, or can provide any additional information, please get in touch with us.The majority of the local men recorded as having died fighting in the war were born in the Fordingbridge Civil Parish, which, in 1914, included not only Bickton and Burgate but also Godshill, Hyde and Sandleheath. However, men who were living in the Fordingbridge area at the time they enlisted and local men who had emigrated to Australia and Canada are also included. Some interesting facts have emerged from our research. •The losses touched all strata of society. Some were professional soldiers such as William St. John Coventry, the son of the Lord of the Manor, William Foley, whose father was a Vice Admiral and Charles Venables whose father was Bishop of Nassau, but they were joined in death by labourers, factory workers, shop assistants and domestic servants among others.•Most who died were buried or commemorated where they fell, but we do have local First World War graves; in the town cemetery, the graveyard Stuckton Congregational Church and at Hyde Church. These are of men who were repatriated and died of wounds or who died as a consequence of the war after it had finished.•The youngest to lose their lives were a 16-year-old in the Royal Navy and a 17-year-old from the Hampshire Regiment. The oldest to die was 56 and serving the Protection Company Corps. •The Western Front in France claimed the majority of our men, mostly in trench warfare, but a number died at Gallipoli and at Kut in present-day Iraq. One was a prisoner of war who died in Berlin and was buried there.•The Morgans of Hungerford near Fordingbridge lost both their sons while the Witt family of Frogham lost four sons. •Local men died fighting in the Royal Navy while others were killed whilst deployed in various essential roles in supporting regiments.To date we are aware that Fordingbridge lost a total of 85 men but we have yet to incorporate information from the parishes of Breamore, Hale, Ibsley and the Western Downland. Laurence Binyon’s much loved Ode of Remembrance, best expresses our feelings about all the men from a small area of Hampshire who made the ultimate sacrifice in that terrible war.They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,We will remember them.ANN SEVIER

Fordingbridge World War 1 Commemoration