In a dusty corner of St Peter’s Church in Bethnal Green are plaques displaying the names of 168 men of the parish who fell in WWI. Of those fallen, biographies of 125 have been uncovered. There is not a single Officer amongst them.
They worked in a range of professions that existed at the bottom of society. Wood carvers, umbrella stick makers, errand boys, labourers, carmen, hamper liners and a host of professions lost to us today.
They died in the slaughterhouses of Belgium and France, in Turkey, in Jerusalem, in Basra and on ships torpedoed and sunk in the North Sea.
A group of volunteers has come together to fund-raise to erect a permanent memorial to them and to tell their stories. They were ordinary men from one of the poorest places in England, and their sacrifice should not be forgotten.
Please give generously to this campaign.
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The photo features Bethnal Green soldier William Arthur Bates (1894-1969), who served in the Royal Field Artillery. He was gassed but survived the war. He’s believed to have been a horse handler at Bishopsgate Goods Yard.