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SWAFFHAM FEN METHODIST WAR MEMORIAL

The Swaffham Fen Methodist (Wesleyan) Chapel, otherwise known as ‘The Little Chapel In The Fen’, is no longer in regular use for worship. However, a goodly congregation of folk from far and wide gathers every year, at 3 p.m. on the first Sunday in October, for an old-fashioned ‘Harvest Thanksgiving’, where favourite and regular Hymns are ‘Shall We Gather At The River’, ‘We Plough The Fields And Scatter’, ‘Come Ye Thankful People, Come’, and ‘Bringing In The Sheaves’.

There is an oak-framed War Memorial tablet on an interior wall of the Chapel that commemorates eight local men whose lives were lost in ‘The Great War’.

The Chapel as photographed in July 2000

Here is the tablet as it looked in July 2000, nearly 80 years after its
unveiling.
A report of the unveiling of the memorial appeared in the
Cambridge Independent Press on the 12th August 1921, as follows:

Mr Newson John Bernard Pratt was the son of Mr William Newson Pratt, Smallholder of Chapel Farm, and Mrs Jane Pratt, Mistress of Upware School. Mr Pratt served through the First World War, emerging in 1918 as a Sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He later went on to become Headmaster of Swaffham Bulbeck School.

The following abbreviated details obtained from the Commonwealth War Graves Commissions’s website refer to the men whose lives were remembered on that ‘inclement’ August day in 1921:

1914-1918

IN AFFECTIONATE REMEBRANCE OF

CAMPS Charles
Private 33341, 6th Battalion, Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment), who was killed in action on Thursday, 18th January 1917. Aged 22. Born Swaffham Fen, enlisted Newmarket, resident Burwell. Son of the late Mr. and Mrs. S. Camps, of Reach, Cambs; husband of Eliza Ethel Camps, of Crown Hall Farm, Burwell, Cambs. Formerly 4449, Suffolk Regiment. No known grave. Commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France. Pier and Face 3 A and 3 D.
CREEK Charles Richard

Corporal 201401, 1st/4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, who died of wounds on Wednesday, 2nd May 1917. Born Sheffield, enlisted Bourne, Lincolnshire, resident Dyke, Lincolnshire. In the 1911 census he was the son of Richard and Elizabeth Creek, single, aged 19, Farm Labourer, born 1892 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, resident The Laburnums, Swaffham Fen. Buried in PHILOSOPHE BRITISH CEMETERY, MAZINGARBE, Pas de Calais, France. Plot I. Row O. Grave 15.

HATLEY Frederick James
Private 3677, 35th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), who died of wounds on Tuesday, 17th October 1916. Aged 21. Born and resident Reach, enlisted Newmarket. Son of John William Hatley, of Bull Cottage, Reach, Cambs. Formerly 20737, Suffolk Regiment. In the 1911 census he is the son of John William and Mary Ann Hatley, single, aged 16, Farmer's Son Wokring on Farm, born 1895 in Swaffham Prior, resident Chewtree Inn, Swaffham Fen. Buried in DARTMOOR CEMETERY, BECORDEL-BECOURT, Somme, France. Plot II. Row E. Grave 6.
LONG Fred

Private 17905, 8th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, who was killed in action on Wednesday, 7th August 1918. Aged 23. Born Soham, enlisted Bury St Edmunds. Son of Mrs. Emily Ann Long, of Blue House Farm, Prior Fen, Ely, Cambs. In the 1911 census he is living with his widowed mother Emily Ann Long, aged 16, Farm Labourer, born 1895 in Waterbeach, resident Mill House, Lode Fen. No known grave. Commemorated on POZIERES MEMORIAL, Somme, France. Panel 44 and 45.

OAKMAN David

Private 8814, 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, who was missing pronounced killed in action on Wednesday, 26th August 1914. Born Ely, enlisted Cambridge. In the 1911 census he was the son of Henry J and Mary Jane Oakman, aged 16, Milkman, born 1895 Ely, resident Widgham Farm, Dullingham Newmarket, brother of Ernest who also fell on the same day at the same place. No known grave. Commemorated on LA FERTE-SOUS-JOUARRE MEMORIAL, Seine-et-Marne, France.

OAKMAN Ernest

Private 8785, 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, who was missing pronounced killed in action on Wednesday, 26th August 1914. Born Burnt Fen, enlisted Cambridge. In the 1911 census he was the son of Henry J and Mary Jane Oakman, aged 13, Farm Labourer, born 1895 Burnt Fen, resident Widgham Farm, Dullingham Newmarket, brother of David who also fell on the same day at the same place. No known grave. Commemorated on LA FERTE-SOUS-JOUARRE MEMORIAL, Seine-et-Marne, France.

SENNITT William Henry

Private 7453, 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment who was killed in action Friday, 5th March 1915. Aged 30. Born Stretham, enlised Ely, resident Soham. Son of Harry and Susan Sennitt; husband of Dora Alice Sennitt, of Upware, Soham, Cambs. No known grave. Commemorated on YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 31 and 33. Also listed on the Wicken memorial

THORBY, MM Ernest
Private 15755, 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, who killed in action on Saturday, 21st September 1918. Aged 21. Son of Robert and Elizabeth Thorby, of Soham Rd., Stuntney, Ely, Cambs. Awarded the Military Medal (M.M.). Medal card states 7th Battalion. No known grave. Commemorated on VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL, Pas de Calais, France. Panel 4 and 5.

WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR

Last updated 13 February, 2012

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