Barbara's detective work unearths more info on Mansfield Woodhouse's war heroes
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The names of 57 servicemen are listed on a memorial at St Edmund’s Church in Woodhouse. But there are no details of their exploits.
Therefore, heritage enthusiast Barbara Berry, 65, has made it her mission to track them down, painstakingly working through official records and gathering stories from relatives.
Some amazing tales have been unearthed, resulting in a public exhibition at Mansfield Woodhouse public library. It is also hoped to publish a book.
However, Barbara came to a dead end in her hunt for information on five of the men, listed as B.Ball, A,Mallatratt, G.Redfern, T.Straw and B.L.Walters, and issued an appeal through the Chad.
Now, she has discovered that B.L.Walters was 24-year-old Leslie Walters, a Sunday School teacher, and she is hoping the circumstances of his death might lead her to the other ‘missing four’.
For although he served in the war, he didn’t die in action, which explains why there is no record of him at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, as there isn’t of the other quartet.
Barbara says: "I was trawling through the microfiche records of the ‘Mansfield Advertiser’, which was the predecessor to the Chad, and I discovered that Leslie was injured in the siege of Tobruk in Libya in 1941.
"He suffered a perforated ear-drum and broken ribs and was demobbed and sent home. But he kept getting pain in his head.
“He didn’t tell anyone until the pain got so bad that a doctor was called. He sent Leslie straight to hospital, where he was operated on and found to have an abscess on the brain. This led to meningitis, which killed him in 1945.”
The Chad appeal led to a breakthrough about another soldier listed on the memorial, Ben Baugh.
Barbara explains: "I had a phone call from Toni Jackson, a former librarian from Warsop, who said her grandad fought alongside Ben and had a photo of them.
"Ben died just over a week before the end of the war and is buried in Hanover War Cemetery in Germany.”
Anyone with other information on Mansfield Woodhouse’s war heroes should call Barbara on 07496 362052 or email her at [email protected].