Our exhibition, Our Boys, Cockshutt Remembers the Fallen of the Great War, set out to tell the real-life stories, before conscription, of the men behind the names on the War Memorial.
It was a theme which evidently intrigued a great many people from both near and far, as evidenced by the contributions they made to the displays. As each artefact (each with its own story to tell) was brought forward and added to the exhibition, it helped with the building of the powerful story of how ordinary young men, quietly getting on with their lives in a quiet, rural back-water, became embroiled in one of the most terrible, barbaric conflicts ever known. Honourable and duty-bound, their hopes and aspirations were cruelly and swiftly snatched away as they each died a brutal, agonizing death, far from home.
It is testament to the willingness of Our Boys, to go that extra step in the pursuit of freedom, truth and justice, only too aware that death lurked all around them, that inspired so many of us to be a part of the telling of their stories.
In a poignant act of homage and remembrance, the community of Cockshutt and surrounding areas, together with descendants of the fallen, laid wreaths and crosses around the War Memorial, thinking perhaps of the words we had just heard:
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.
On Remembrance Day 2018, in the peace and quiet of Ss Simon & Jude, candles were lit in commemoration of Our Boys. As our thoughts focused on each of their young and ordinary lives and how their hopes and aspirations were torn away from them by a brutal and vicious conflict, we were able to find some solace, as perhaps they had, by reflecting on the following:
Almighty and most Merciful Father, Forgive me my sins: Grant me Thy peace: Give me Thy power: Bless me in life and death, For Jesus Christ’s sake, Amen
A Soldier’s Prayer
Issued by the Chaplain General, August 1914