The records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission show that many more fallen soldiers came from Rutland than was previously thought. Another 21 names have been added to the website, bringing the total so far to 632. The extra names were found by searching the entire database of the CWGC looking for the word Rutland. Many could be discounted because Rutland is also a name for a street, a square or a house. But 21 names seemed worth exploring.
Now we have provided brief biographies of them all based on the CWGC records and will attempt over time to expand the information by using other databases. So the work of George Phillips continues. In his Rutland and the Great War he has 489 biographies although he put the number of Rutland dead at 525.
We now have more than a hundred extra names and many more biographies including some from Oakham School as explained earlier in this blog. So why were so many missed in the first place? The most likely answer is that many of our new names had moved from Rutland by the time of their death. We don’t think that excludes them from being included.
After the First World War committees set about the task of drawing up lists of the dead from their towns and villages. They might not have extended their search for names beyond those with families still resident. Certainly they didn’t have the benefit of modern communications to spread the word and find those who had moved away, in some cases a relatively short time previously. So we have the Selwyn boys of Uppingham. Their father was one-time headmaster of the school before retiring in 1907 to live in Surrey. His eldest son Christopher had spent the first 18 years of his life in the town. In our view, that makes him worthy of being remembered in his home county along with his half-brother George who was ten when he moved away.
Some connections are less strong but nevertheless compelling. Being born in Rutland qualifies for being a Rutlander, however short your time in the county might have been. In Rutland and the Great War there are some names of soldiers whose connections with Rutland are tenuous to say the least. But they are there all the same and appear on the county’s war memorials.
So we embrace them all and remember them equally as men who lived and worked in our towns and villages and laid down their lives for their country.