On 4th August 1914, Britain entered one of the costliest conflicts in history – The First World War. It is estimated that the war claimed the lives of more than sixteen million people and involved over one hundred countries across the world. Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning at the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. The First World War had a lasting impact. There are only fifty three English and Welsh villages – known as ‘Thankful Villages‘ – from which all those who saw service in the war, returned home alive. There are no Thankful Villages in Cheshire.
Between 1939 and 1945, the world found itself ravaged by war for the second time in the Twentieth Century – World War 2. Frequently described as the most destructive war in history, the exact number of people who lost their lives in World War 2 is unknown; estimates of between fifty and sixty million civilians and service personnel are often quoted. Prior to the outbreak of World War 2, memories of the reckless destruction of The Great War still hung over Britain. The British Armed Forces were made up almost entirely by volunteers and considerable investment was made to increase their size as the grip of Nazism grew in Germany. The British Army – including reservists – increased in size from just over one million personnel at the outbreak of war to three and a half million having served by the end of the war.
Over the coming months, to coincide with the centenary of the end of The First World War, we hope to share stories about the lives of the deceased parishioners of St Paul’s parish who took part in these conflicts as a virtual war memorial.
The Poynton Local History Society has undertaken research on the impact of World War 1 on Poynton residents, and published Poynton in World War 1: the soldiers and the village.