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'Great War Heroes of Little Baddow and their Families'

tells the stories of many of 'Our Boys and Girls' and commemorates their records as well as the everyday life back home for their families.

For many years, Alan Ridgway has been researching the men of our village who served in the First World War, gathering material from many sources, with the help of researcher Joanne Phillips, including contacting some of the families of the soldiers.

Having gathered so much material, it became obvious that only a book would do justice to the contribution of those men and their families.

book cover

His book is available, priced £10, from the Centre.

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memorial

This commemorative arch is a memorial to those from Little Baddow who died in the World Wars.

After the Great War the people of Little Baddow decided to commemorate their loss by making a gesture for the benefit of the whole community. Through voluntary donations the Old Hall was purchased and a memorial arch was added as an entrance. The building would be used by the community for meetings, concerts, dances and parties.

old memorialOn 11th November 1922, Armistice Day was commemorated inside the hall with a special evening service and the unveiling of a wooden board containing names and photographs of the men from the village who had given their lives in the war.

Disaster struck in 1959 when fire destroyed the hall and the Roll of Honour board was lost.

fire

Fortunately the arch was saved and was relocated as a standalone structure in the grounds of the new and renamed Memorial Hall, where it stands today. Little Baddow lost an important tribute to those who gave their lives during the Great War in 1959, and over time the significance of both the hall and the arch have dimmed.

arch

In 2012, in readiness for the start of the 1914 – 1918 centenary commemorations, research into the Great War servicemen of Little Baddow and their families was started and information was gathered from the Little Baddow History Centre, the Parish Magazine, Local Newspapers, the Essex Regiment Museum and many public archives. Descendants and other family members came forward and we were able to build a vivid picture of our village at the time of the Great War.

In 2014, with the permission and approval of the Parish Council, the Little Baddow War Memorial Steering Committee was formed with the dual objectives of raising awareness of the arch and its special significance in relation to the Great War and raising funds to have the Roll of Honour reinstated, this time in stone within the arch itself, while extending it to include those lost in World War II and subsequent hostile actions.

ww1

ww2

Fund-raising commenced in 2015. Invitations to contribute were distributed to individuals, groups and businesses in and around the village and to organisations hopefully empathetic to the project.

Events were organised; coffee mornings, talks, film nights and even a Halloween Scarecrow ‘Spooktacular’. Responses were wonderfully enthusiastic and generous.

Meanwhile, using our earlier research and other memorial plaques in the village a comprehensive list of servicemen and civilians from the village who had lost their lives in both World Wars was compiled.

With all the community effort, generous individual donations, Parish Council support, Essex Heritage Trust and Western Front Association contributions, our target of £15,000 was reached in less than nine months and we were able to have the work completed in time for a Rededication service on Armistice Day, 2016, just as the original dedication had been made on Armistice Day in 1922.

Short film of the re-dedication.

Our Re-dedication was conducted by our village clergy and attended by more than one hundred villagers and guests, including The Lord Petre JP, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Colonel Stephen P. Foakes TD DL Regimental President, Essex Yeomanry, Colonel Charles Thomas, County Colonel of the Royal Anglia and Essex Regiment, Ian Hook, Curator, Essex Regiment, Chelmsford Museum, representatives of the Western Front Association, descendants of named servicemen, Scouts and Brownies.

Just as in 1922, the WI served Refreshments to our village community in our Memorial Hall.

Now that the project is complete, the remaining balance has been handed to the Parish Council for use at an annual Remembrance Day Ceremony and for future maintenance as required. Our sincere thanks go to everyone involved in this appeal.

remember

Further information about the fallen and those who served in the World Wars may be found by visiting the Little Baddow History Centre.

war heroes

 

These photographs are from the original exhibition at the History Centre in the Autumn of 2014.

poppies

exhib shot

heroes

memorial shot

opening

The opening afternoon of the exhibition.

trenches