The pictures above were
taken when the war memorial was erected, just after the
first World War
Grave of Omar Tilley
at Abbeville, France
David Tilley laying flowers at his Great Uncle's
grave in France
Annie Johnson has kindly sent
in an extract from a letter written around 1918 which gives us an idea of what
life was like in Cottingham/Middleton at the end of the First World War. This letter was
sent by Annie's grandfather, Alfred Bradshaw, to his brother-in-law George
Sturman in London, where Alfred's son John Charles Bradshaw was living:
had a man and 3 government horses a month, but they
went away last Monday. We are all very glad the war is over. So far Fred Inchley
is home. He has been one of the favoured ones. (?) Cookswell
is just as weak, and one of the pothoe boys, Bill, he’s not very grand.
Mrs Mark Firth would send him to a good home and pay all expenses, but I think
he belongs to the old gang - sooner go Publick house.
"Hope you have got
the potatoes all right. I paid the carriage. All being well we shall be sending
a parcel next week. The plague (influenza) that is about has taken W. Foster,
Tom Cannam's youngest son
and poor old Bill Crain the highstrung boy, off very quickly and a great many
been seriously ill. W. Reynolds was married on Wednesday. Had Fred
Simpson home for 18 days leave. It would not be
so bad going back now the firing is done. He looked better than last year. We
shall be soon looking out for xmas.
"PS: They are shifting some horses out of the
army now - hundred every week."
Annie has transcribed this
from a handwritten letter, so any clues as to the missing names would be
of the 23 First World War soldiers remembered on the village war memorial
(Francis) Omar Tilley.
His great nephew David Tilley, now living in Cleethorpes, tells us that Omar was an
acting sergeant in the Leicester Regiment and a holder of the military
medal. He died of his wounds in December 1917 aged 23, most probably
during the German counter offensive at Cambrai, and is buried in the
British Commonwealth war graves at Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension
here to read David's fascinating
article about his search to find out more about Omar.
Margery Haseler and her family have
traced their ancestors back to Cottingham. Margery’s uncle
of the Royal Engineers’ Reinforcements, died in Basra, Iraq in July 1916, aged
26 and his younger brother
of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died a few weeks later in the Somme, aged