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war time


customs & legends




World War I

See also war memorial  and the website

War mem+opening.jpg (40363 bytes)

War mem-scouts.jpg (69037 bytes)


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:

"...Have 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 welcomed.

One of the 23 First World War soldiers remembered on the village war memorial is (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 in France.

Click 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 John Dunkley, of the Royal Engineers’ Reinforcements, died in Basra, Iraq in July 1916, aged 26 and his younger brother Harry Dunkley, of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died a few weeks later in the Somme, aged just 17.




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