Horace Brand from Duxford died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and not many neighbouring villages were spared similar losses.
Charles Speed from Whittlesford and both Leonard Flack and Richard Unwin of Thriplow were killed that day. All four were serving with 11th (Service) Battalion, the Suffolk Regiment (Cambs). The Battalion War Diary suggests that they, five officers and about 150 others of the battalion were mown down by machine gun fire, with a further twelve officers and 387 others wounded, and two officers and 75 others missing.
Horace was born in the Autumn of 1896, attended the village School in St John’s Street and, in 1904, received an award for perfect attendance, which was repeated with a bar the following year. This, despite being reported, along with Albert Mynott and his brother Charles, for stealing fruit from Mr Runham!
At the time of the 1911 census, Horace was living with Charles and his father Jesse, a butcher, at the Wheatsheaf – just a few yards from our newly renovated village War Memorial – that includes his name. Ten years previously, they had been living in Manger’s Lane. Both Charles and a younger brother, also named Jesse, “Hazarded their Lives” in the War, according to the Duxford Roll of Honour.
Before the death of Horace, only three other families had received the dreaded telegram – the Flack’s, the Richardson’s and the Wick’s. With Conscription starting in 1916 this figure soon increased, eventually totalling fifteen – plus two on our Roll of Honour who are listed on the Whittlesford War Memorial.
Information on this page kindly contributed by Mr Tim Chudleigh and Mr Philip Wade