A few years ago, I was asked if I would like to do ground maintenance on the church grounds. When I took over the maintenance, I found that some of the grave stones had been covered over by ivy and shrubs, it took me a while to uncover them. One day while I was clearing away bushes and shrubs, I came across our memorial it was overgrown by bushes and ivy was growing up it. I didn’t know at the time what it was I thought it was persons headstone, we have some large ones in our cemetery. It was not until I completely unveiled it that I was astonished to find A MEMORIAL to fallen soldier in WW1 who were associated with our village and locality I even asked why we do not have a remembrance service in little hampden as we have a written paper on the wall, I was told we don’t have a memorial( We do and have had for nearly 100yrs) I even asked an elder member of the village about it, did they ever have a service of remembrance at the memorial the answer was no. I wanted to change that. . I then with help started to find who they were.
The mills brothers’ father and mother had taken on the Rising sun public house (coffee shop back then) before the war started and the father died in 1912, this left Jane the mother to run the rising sun with her children.
It was when here two sons never came home from fighting in Flanders and France
LAWRENCE Mills was 31 when he died on 20th March 1918 (reported Killed in action) 1918 how close to coming home.
Charles Mills was 37 when he died 30th APRIL 1916 again killed in action France and Flanders
Jane Mills paid for the memorial to be erected, it was an act of kind on the family’s part to add Arthur Jeff’s who was from Ellisbourgh who died of wounds when injured in a gas attack that was reported on 25th April 1918.
I myself have been organising our remembrance service at little hampden for four years and Brian Smith a relative of the Mills family attends, We have a service that is run by the children of the village rather than adults, except Patricia Neal of curator philosophy is if we empower the younger generation to take control then they have a sense of owning it, The inscription on the memorial is hard to read now and it is advised by the stonemasons that cleaning it should bring back the wording but may require touching up in places.
I personally would love to reinstate the memorial as an act of acknowledgment to the soldiers, family of the soldiers, but also to the children to say, WE MUST NEVER FORGET OR LET OUR MEMORIALS FALL INTO ILL REPAIR.