Forty-eight of those commemorated died abroad. Thirty-eight of them were killed in action and ten died of wounds or illnesses, including influenza, at casualty clearing stations or military hospitals. Half of the forty-eight who died abroad have individually marked graves in Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) cemeteries. The bodies of the other twenty-four men were not recovered; they are remembered abroad on CWGC memorials, such as Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.
Click here to find out more about the conflicts in which the men died.
Deaths in the UK
Thirteen men died from illnesses at home between 1915 and 1923. Nine are buried in Radcliffe cemetery.
Click here to read about WWI graves in Radcliffe cemetery
Four are buried elsewhere: Sidney Bell (heart disease, buried New Zealand), Thomas Buggins (tuberculosis, buried Bingham), Arthur Clarke (heart disease, buried County Durham) and Leonard Rushmore (gas poisoning, buried Nottingham).
The memorial distinguishes those killed in action or dying of wounds from those who died from illness contracted while on active service by listing the two groups separately on the plinth. However, there are errors in this separation with six men who died of illnesses not assigned to that category. (See the biographies of H. Beet, S. Bell, T. Buggins, G. Berridge, J. Martin and L. Rushmore for details of their deaths).
Impact of WWI on Radcliffe servicemen’s health
The majority of Radcliffe on Trent servicemen returned; we have recorded around 320 who came back and were still alive five years after the end of the war and eighty-five who died between 1914 and 1923, sixty-one of whom are on the memorial.
The men’s war experiences were variable, as was their length of service. A great many men were reported sick or wounded while serving. Some were reported as being dangerously ill and narrowly escaped death. The Radcliffe on Trent biographies reveal an overall deleterious effect of the war on men’s health and shorter life spans than generally experienced today. Many ex-servicemen who survived the war died in their fifties and sixties.
War-related deaths continued long after the Radcliffe on Trent memorial was erected. Seven ex-servicemen from the village died between 1924 and 1929. A further nineteen died in the 1930s. By 1939 just over a quarter of all Radcliffe WW1 servicemen (109 men) were no longer alive. The pattern of poor post-war health found among ex-servicemen in Radcliffe was replicated nationally: tuberculosis was a lethal killer at the time. The long term consequences of war cut short the lives of thousands of men across the U.K. and because of the time lapse since the end of WWI they were not officially commemorated.
Radcliffe War Memorial today
Radcliffe on Trent War Memorial is still a place for commemoration. People often leave wreaths on the memorial base after funerals. Every November Radcliffe residents congregate at the memorial to commemorate those who died as a result of the Great War, alongside those who lost their lives in the Second World War and more recent conflicts. A special ceremony took place at the war memorial on November 11th 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice. Local dignitaries, community groups and organisations, including Radcliffe on Trent WWI Group, paraded through the village before laying wreaths at the memorial’s base. There was a huge crowd in attendance, just as there was when the memorial was unveiled in 1921.
Radcliffe on Trent Memorial, November 11th 2018
Click here to read more about the Armistice centenary in Radcliffe
Rosemary Collins, March 2019