War's Terrible Toll on Village Homes

This report from the Luton News 1st January 1920 tells the tragic story of two neighbouring families from the hamlet of Great Bramingham who lost seven sons between them.

Bedfordshire's own "Saving Private Ryan" story.

Samuel and Sarah Brightman had five soldier sons and only one returned safely. After the first four sons were all killed in action; ( one in 1914, one in 1916 and two in 1917) ; the Vicar of Streatley and others successfully appealed for the fifth son Walter  to be released from the army on compassionate grounds in July 1918. Three of their sons, Alfred, Frank and Herbert, have no known graves and are remembered on the Menin Gate at Ypres; Thiepval Memorial in the Somme and Tyne Cot in Belgium. The fourth, Richard, is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery in France.

George and Ann Horsler had seven sons on the Western Front. Three were killed ( in 1916, 1917 and 1918)  and two others were  wounded. Only two escaped unscathed. Two of their sons, Arthur and George, have no known graves and are remembered on memorials at Vis en Artois in Arras, France and Tyne Cot in Belgium. The third, Edward,  is buried in Guillemont Cemetery in the Somme.

The reporter questions " whether there is another little place like Great Bramingham in the whole county of Bedford where from two neighbouring cottages twelve sturdy men went out to fight and only five returned, not all as fit and strong as when they left the land to take up arms in its defence."


Author: HillC

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