FALLEN Uttoxeter soldiers who names proudly stand on the town’s war memorial have been brought back to life at an historic museum.
Redfern’s Cottage: Museum of Uttoxeter Life welcomed visitors to find out more about their relatives named on the Market Place memorial.
Visitors were given the chance to meet Gillian and Alan Talbot who have dedicated the last 10 years to researching the lives of the men named on the memorial and now has information on every single one of them, such as what they did in civilian life and where they lived in the town, as well as their war careers and eventual deaths.
One visitor brought her own family memorial brooch which was given to her husband’s family following the death of Joseph Copeland in 1917.
Before the war Joseph was employed at the Leighton Ironworks in Uttoxeter, where agricultural machinery was made by the Bamford family. Joseph was determined to serve in the war, but he was rejected several times.
He finally met with success in 1916, but died shortly afterwards from pneumonia in February 1917 in hospital in Ripon. He is buried in Uttoxeter Cemetery. He left a wife, Harriet, and a child, Bill who went on to marry Pauline Copeland who brought the brooch in to the Carter Street cottage.
In March 1917 the Advertiser published a description of Joseph Copeland’s funeral. This said that his coffin, placed on a gun carriage, was escorted to Ripon railway station by a band, 60 drivers and 110 gunners. A bunch of flowers from his comrades was on the coffin when it arrived at Uttoxeter station.
He was accorded full military honours and on the day of his funeral a detachment of the Uttoxeter Volunteer Force, under Sergeant Major John Latimer Collyer, preceded the funeral cortege from the house to the cemetery, where the service was held. The graveside was lined by the volunteers, who stood at the salute while a bugler sounded the ‘Last Post’.
Honorary curator Laura Wigg-Bailey said: “We are absolutely thrilled to see another of these unique and beautiful objects as they are now extremely rare, even at the time as Uttoxeter was the only town that we know of to produce them for the families of the fallen men.”
Mr and Mrs Talbot will be publishing a book containing all of their research on the fallen men of Uttoxeter which is due to be launched in November this year.
Anyone with the brooches is asked to make contact with Redfern’s Cottage on 01889567176 or firstname.lastname@example.org so they can photograph them.
The exhibition, WW1 Uttoxeter’s Fallen Heroes, is free and open at Redfern’s Cottage until the end of the year with some of the exhibits changing around August in order to show more of the collection.
More information is available at www.redfernscottage.org