Horace Colgate died nearly a hundred years ago at the tragically young age of eighteen… his death was not unusual at that time; millions of young men were giving their lives on the battlefields of World War 1.
Horace came from the quiet Surrey village of Bletchingley where he had lived with his mother, step-father and four younger brothers and sisters. I know the village quite well as my husband’s family are Colgates, cousins of Horace. After I had written about Horace I returned there to try to place him in the pretty little village. The traffic going to and coming from the M25 was dreadful, but even on a chilly, damp Friday afternoon Bletchingley still looked charming.
Horace Colgate, né Alfred Dodd, is commemorated on the war memorial in Bletchingley. There is still a Colgate living in Barfileds, where Horace lived with his brothers and sisters and parents before he went to war.
My mother-in-law, Dorothy Alice Colgate was born in Bletchingley in 1914, on Monday, October 16th. She was a second cousin of Horace but would never have known him.
Dorothy’s father went away to fight in World War 1 as Horace did; luckily for Dorothy and her mother and sister, he returned. He must have walked past the war memorial many times and thought of his poor cousin Horace who never came home.