Monday, 22 April 2013
Great Coates sorrow
Two men were killed when their car was struck by a train at the Great Coates Level Crossing while we were away on our early Summer Holiday for two weeks after Easter. We found sad headlines about this, and about a separate fatal car accident elsewhere in North East Lincolnshire, on our return. Others have been ministering in different ways – Grimsby Minister opening specially for people to light candles and others have been involved in funerals – and we have set up prayer material in St Nicolas’ which is usually left open during the day anyway.
It was only shortly before going away that I reflected with a few others on the way such deaths are a slowly beating feature of village life. I’d been given a set of Parish Magazines to read for 1896-1925 and came across this just over a hundred years ago
Much sympathy has been shown in the village and neighbourhood with the Adams family in their terrible bereavement, which they have much appreciated, as also the practical form the sympathy took. The funeral was most impressive, and it was touching to see poor little Willie’s fellow choir boys preceding the Rector in the churchyard. This sad death should be a warning to children, and grown-up people too, to be very careful in crossing the line. The wreaths sent were most beautiful.
We had a look at the 1911 census to find that Willie’s father was a railway signalman and the family lived on the north side of the railway line, not far from the home of another ten year old killed on the same spot 67 years later who many local people remember well.
The other sad Great Coates occurrence while we’ve been away, although less devastating, was the removal into storage of the War Memorial from the wall of the former Reading Room (village hall) which is now being developed into a private dwelling. As far as I can find out, this appears to be have been done without any of the necessary planning permission.
The Village Council was already developing a plan to move the Memorial to the grounds of the new village hall being built at the moment, so I very much hope that it will come out of storage in time for Remembrancetide in November and the beginning of the Great War Centenary year a few weeks later, and do so without the time constraint now putting on pressure to settle for less than perfect proposal.
The Memorial lists all who those served in the Great War (not just those who died) and they would have known Willie Adams. By coincidence I had also been reflecting before I went away on Sister Appleyard - the first name on the list, the only female one, and the one most commented upon. Census returns told us that her father also worked on the railway and her family lived almost next door to the Adams. The Parish Magazines furnished me with the following.
We are now sending one of our ‘old girls’ to be a nurse amongst the troops in Egypt. Miss Rose Appleyard. She has been doing good and hard work in the London hospital for some time with civilians and soldiers. We wish her every success in her new post, and pray for her safe return. (June 1917)
Miss Rose Appleyard has arrived safely at Alexandria and is doing work as a nurse amongst soldiers there. We wish her health and strength to carry on her self-denying duties. (November 1917)
We are very glad to see Sister Appleyard back among us once more. She has had a strenuous three years of work as a Nurse in Constantinople and all parts of the East and has had a wonderful experience. She should have retuned home several weeks ago, but has been ‘held up’ at Alexandria for want of a steamer to bring her back. She has been awarded Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service Decoration. She is the last of the Great Coates’ War Contingent to be demobilized. She well deserves’s a rest. (September 1920)