story of how 168 young heroes from Kingsley,
Northampton, gave their lives in World War 1 can now be
told for the first time.
For years, all that was known about the fallen on the
Great War Roll of Honour in St Matthew’s church memorial
chapel was their first initial and surnames.
But thanks to a year of painstaking work by parishioner
Martin Stone, the church now has fully researched files
on every one of Our Brave Boys.
He has provided St Matthew’s with their full names,
where they lived, details of parents, in some cases
their jobs, the regiments they joined, the battles they
fought, their ages at time of death, and where they
fell. There are also pictures of several soldiers, their
medals, documents, and their final places of rest.
Mr Stone’s meticulous work, with the help of his
genealogist wife Lindsey, means St Matthew’s is the only
known church in Britain to have fully researched ALL of
its WW1 dead on such a huge scale.
His files, completed to coincide with the 100th
anniversary of the Armistice, will be presented to us at
a special Evening of Remembrance on Wednesday 7 November
Mr Stone – recently retired after a distinguished career
in the armed forces – will talk to veteran BBC
broadcaster Paul Vaughan and Fr Nicholas, about how he
embarked on this historic project and the problems and
triumphs he encountered.
Called ‘WE WILL REMEMBER THEM’, this special evening
will reflect on the amazing sacrifices these Kingsley
boys gave for our future freedoms.
Among the files is the tragic story of the three Hall
brothers, Harry (31), William (28) and 19-year-old Percy
from Lutterworth Road, Northampton.
William, a private in the Hampshire regiment was killed
in action in 1915. Harry (Cambs Regt and Notts & Derby
Regt) and Percy (Royal Fusiliers Regt) died within 24
hours of each other in 1917 in separate conflicts. It is
believed their father may also have died during WW1
leaving their mother Annie widowed.
Another St Matthew’s soldier on the Roll of Honour is
known to have died on the first day of the third Battle
of Ypres, when 6,750 British men were slaughtered. It
was one of the bloodiest days in British military
It is believed the fallen listed in St Matthew’s either
lived or had lived in the parish, were baptised or
married there, attended St Matthew’s Primary School,
worshipped there or worked as church youth group leaders
or members of church organisations. Their parents may
have had links to the church.
Mr Stone explained: ‘Sometimes the remaining families,
the next of kin of these men, declined to receive the
medals and records and asked for them to be destroyed.
‘A mother may have lost her husband as well as one or
more sons. Cases of this can be seen in the evidence of
the men listed here in the parish of St Matthew’s.’
The dialogue for the evening will be interspersed with
music by Howells, Gurney and Piers Connor Kennedy’s song
cycle Rough Rhymes which is an exciting new setting of
poems by the WW1 priest Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy.
Fr Geoffrey was nicknamed Woodbine Willie for giving
Woodbine cigarettes along with spiritual aid to wounded
and dying soldiers in the trenches.
Narrator Paul Vaughan, an expert on Woodbine Willie,
will introduce the song cycle with biographical
information. It features composer Piers Connor Kennedy,
piano, and countertenor Hugh Cutting.
Hugh is from the choir of St John’s College, Cambridge,
and Piers from the choir of Winchester Cathedral.
Also in church will be eight see-through perspex
silhouette soldiers awarded as part of the Armed Forces
Covenant Fund Trust theme in this 100th Armistice
anniversary year – THERE BUT NOT THERE. The silhouettes
will be strategically placed on church seats as a
poignant representation of our fallen heroes.
A massive cascade of hundreds of poppies handmade by
members of the congregation and by local schoolchildren
will hang proudly next to the memorial chapel.