The first name on the Roll of Honour, Reginald was assumed to be from a local family, but a check back through census returns showed that he wasn’t.
His father was a schoolmaster from Derbyshire who had come to work in Wappenham and married a local girl there. Reginald was their first child and he grew up with his brothers and sisters in Wappenham.
He became a blacksmith and in 1911 he was working in Hanslope, Buckinghamshire, and lodging with the Brownsell family. Mrs Brownsell was a lacemaker, while her husband was an ‘engine driver on farm’, perhaps at the forefront of agricultural technology at that time.
We don’t know when Reginald came to West Haddon, or why, but he was living and working here in November 1914 when he enlisted in the Northamptonshire Yeomanry. He might have worked at one of the forges shown in our pictures below.
He worked as a shoeing smith in the Army Service Corps until the end of the war – a job that reminds us just how important horses were during the Great War (think of Joey in War Horse.)
His story is also a reminder that people moved around the country, where their work or other circumstances led them, in the early years of the 20th century, just as people do today.
(Left) Herbert (Bertie) Atterbury was Lord of the Manor. He is seen here outside the old Village Institute (where the Village Hall is now). Behind him, on the right, is an old tin shed which was used as a blacksmith’s shop at one time.
(Wendy Raybould Nov 2015)