Horace

Still thinking about Remembrance Day, I found I was looking at a story I wrote, a true story about a young man whose life was sacrificed during the Great War:

Arthur Colgate was living at  number 3, Brewer Street, Bletchingley, and was a stoneman, no doubt at the local quarry when he met a young widow.  Emma Dodd, née Pither was probably  a couple of years younger than Thomas, and she had a one year old son Alfred. Alfred was born in Lambeth, London on July 1st, 1898 and after his mother married, he later took his step-father’s name.

Arthur and Emma married in 1899, and lived with seventy-five year old Henry, now a widower. Emma’s little son was now called Horace, but he still kept his father’s name of Dodd. Three years after their marriage they had their first child, Edith Gertrude. When Horace was seven and little Edith was three, Ruby Emma was born in 1905.  In 1907 Yates Thomas arrived, and the family was completed in 1912 when baby Raymond William John was born. By the time Raymond arrived the family were living in Barfields and they continued to live there to this present day.

In 1914, when Alfred, now Horace was sixteen, the First World War started, and Horace joined up in the Royal West Surrey Regiment . He went to Flanders as a private in the 7th battalion shortly after his 17th birthday, 27th July 1915. No doubt his family were proud of him, his little brothers, Yates and Raymond must have wanted to join their big brother to be a soldier, maybe Ruby and Edith thought it was romantic. Probably Thomas and Emma, though proud, were anxious for his safety, and as the conflict progressed and others in the village returned home wounded or did not return at all, they must have become increasingly worried for his safety.  He had been in France for nearly a year and it was Horace’s eighteenth birthday in 1916 when he went into action… and ‘in some foreign field,’ he was killed.

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