Puttenham is Thankful

Church Plaque

By Colin Wilson

At the moment we’re thinking so much about war. This year is the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, and it so happens that today (June 6th) is the anniversary of D Day. Maybe it’s only a co-incidence that I found this today, but if so it’s still a pleasant one.

For a while I’ve been cataloguing some of the photos Nick Connell took around Hertfordshire. Many of the photos are to do with churches, including a constant stream of memorials, graves and war lists.

Anyway, today I found a war list from Puttenham which read rather strangely. It wasn’t a list of the dead, but of those who returned. It noted the names of 15 men who went to war and who were welcomed home, from a village which at that time had but 71 inhabitants. In other words, about a fifth of the population. That triggered something in my mind.

A quick check on the internet provided the answer. Puttenham is one of the Thankful Villages. They are so called because all those who went to fight in the Great War returned. There are only about 53 of them in the country, and Puttenham is the only one in Hertfordshire.  A far smaller number of villages (unfortunately Puttenham is not one of them) are doubly thankful, as all those who served in WWII also returned home. One consequence of this is that such villages do not have war memorials.

Anyway, while we understandably think about those who gave their lives in war, it’s good to remember that some have been fortunate, and are thankful to have their relatives, friends and neighbours back.

This page was added on 06/06/2014.

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