Greetham history walk will commemorate village’s role in war

David Bland EMN-140209-173340001
David Bland EMN-140209-173340001
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Greetham’s community will commemorate the part the village played in the Great War.

The ‘Greetham’s Great War Heroes Village History Walk’ will start at 1.30pm tomorrow (Sunday) from outside the Wheatsheaf pub. David and Paul Bland will lead the walk, stopping off and telling stories at the places where the ten Greetham men killed in the conflict lived.

Paul Bland said: “We hope to have a good attendance for our commemorative event, and anyone is welcome to join us on the walk or later at the church.”

The walk will end at 3.30 pm at Greetham Church where the Rev Marcus Purnell will lead a short outdoor service of remembrance and the bells - which are Greetham’s main war memorial - will be rung, after which refreshments will be served in the church and David and Paul’s new book ‘Greetham and the Great War’ will be launched.

David Bland said: “Our book is focused on Greetham and Rutland and tells some fascinating stories, but it also shows the important part that so many small villages played in the war effort, and the impacts the war had on villages across the nation.”

David collected stories, photos and artefacts over a 40 year period working as a builder in the village. He spoke with many of the Greetham veterans of the war and their families in the 1970s and carefully noted everything down in the knowledge that their stories would be of interest to future generations.

David’s interest in Greetham’s Great War history was sparked in 1969 by meeting Mr ‘Dick’ Butcher who, as Private Albert Butcher, had served with the Lincolnshire Regiment on the Western Front. Other veterans had told David of a memorable quote made by Dick on his return from the war. The local farmers had invited the 54 returning war veterans to have a drink at the Wheatsheaf pub in the village. One of them asked Dick what he was going to do now that the war was over and he was back in Greetham. Dick replied: “I’ve just come from hell, and I’m now going to make this place my heaven on earth.”

Paul and David decided to put the material together in a book so that it would be available to everyone as part of the First World War centenary commemorations. They also collected stories from people living in the village now.

The route of the walk will be marked by wreaths of poppies knitted by villagers, and more of these will decorate the church and will be sold to raise funds to have a missing name from the war memorial plaque inside the church - Sergeant Robert Kendall - professionally added.

The poppy knitting is part of a longer term Greetham community project to knit enough poppies to line the route from Greetham Church to Cottesmore Church by the November 11, 1918 - 100 years from the end of the war.