The Great War


The Great War


Community memories of the Great War are now second hand or even more distant. But memories were recorded, even in recent times, and we share them here.


Queenie Pearman, nee Gardiner, shared her memories a few years ago. She talked vividly of her childhood and how, during the First World War, many women in the village took in machining work for one of the factories on Brick Row where Mr White, who lived in the village, worked. The factory made khaki and white overalls for the army and local women sewed the pieces together.

Queenie's mother worked the button holes for removable 'batchelor' buttons. This helped to bring in a bit of extra money. Queenie also remembered her mother being asked to provide hot meals for five Australian mechanics who came from Aston Down to repair an Allied forces plane that crashed nearby. She recited the poem (see below) these men wrote in her mother's visitors' book, even though the book itself had gone missing with time.

There came five diggers from the AFC
To Oakridge in snow to a crash in glee.
Among the mob was Peter McNaught,
When he eyed the crash he began
to snort.
We had with us driver Cocky Young,
Who said the pilot ought to be hung.
And another digger by the name
of Paulson
Rubbed his mits and remarked
'it's cold-some'.
Then digger Williamson stroked
his chin
And Chas Cunningham began to grin.
'Oh, it's a lovely war' the
boys remarked.
When they arrived back at camp it was
very near dark.

During the period 1914 to 1918 aeroplanes and their use in war developed enormously. It was, however, still a remarkable event to see one close up and Queenie remembered that the schoolchildren, of which she was then one, were fascinated by the crashed plane and trooped over to look at it during their lunch hour on one of the following days. The girls apparently went back to school at the proper time for lessons but the boys, her brother included, stayed at the crash site so long they were late back and were caned for this.

A war memorial in the form of a fountain and water supply was presented to the village and unveiled by Earl Beauchamp, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire. The inscription recalls Mabel Dearmer and her son Christopher, both of whom died in 1915.

There are twenty-one more men of Oakridge who gave their lives during the First World War who are commemorated on this memorial, and seven men from the Second World War.

In the church, two memorials record the men from Oakridge who died during each of the two world wars. Many of the names are those of men from families still living in, or closely associated with, the village.

The above is based on an an extract from 'Oakridge a History' by Pat Carrick, Kay Rhodes and Juliet Shipman, available from Oakridge History Group, price £15 through the ‘Contact Us’ page or from the Oakridge Village Shop.



Oakridge History Group




War Memorial shortly after construction Z13.jpg



“The Great War,” Oakridge Community Archives, accessed January 16, 2019,

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