FROM soldiers killed by poisonous gas to horses massacred in battle, a new exhibition is not intended to cover the horrors of war lightly.

Tony Page, who spent two years putting it together, said he “pulled no punches” in illustrating the war in the Bampton Library display.

The exhibition, called We Will Remember Them, pays tribute to 61 soldiers with connections to the village killed between 1914 and the present day.

The exhibition has been compiled to mark the centenary of the First World War.

It also includes general sections, including photographs showing people killed by gas and horses being shot during the Great War.

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Bampton Community Archive group member Mr Page, 86, said: “I haven’t pulled any punches in this exhibition because that’s what war is all about.

“But there’s a bit of humour among it as well.

“I just felt that we should do something to remember the people on the war memorials, rather than just their names being chiselled in a bit of concrete.

“It got quite emotional at times while reading some of the reports, including some of the ridiculous things that soldiers had to do and how they died.

“I got quite involved with particular people and there were occasions when I just had to stop because it was all too much.

“They were all pretty run-of-the-mill, ordinary people doing what they were told to do.”

Bampton resident Mr Page served in the RAF as an aircraftsman at various bases, including RAF Marston Moor, between 1946 and 1948.

As well as the exhibition, he has also compiled a 132-page book, including two pages for most soldiers with biographies and photographs of either the person or the battle in which they died.

It merges the village’s three official memorials in the Market Place, St Mary’s Church and Bampton Post Office.

They bear the names of 53 servicemen from the First World War, seven from the Second World War and Private Jason Mackie, of the Royal Marines 3rd Armoured Support Group, who was killed in Afghanistan in May 2009, aged 21. Pte Mackie’s mum Lee Mackie, 59, who lives in Bampton, called it a “lovely idea”.

She said: “It’s always a positive when things are done to make sure that sacrifices have been made are remembered.

“They are all someone’s children, brothers and husbands so it’s as relevant to the people that were involved in the First and Second World Wars as the present day. The same thing has happened to them and they have gone through the same things as I did.”

The exhibition in the library’s Vesey Room opens today and will be on display until Sunday, November 30.

The book is also on sale at the library.

Tales of bravery from the men on the memorial

Oxford Mail:

Among the men from Bampton who served and died in conflicts right up to Afghanistan were: s William Wheeler, a blacksmith pictured right, centre, with family members, was married to Margaret and lived in Cheapside, Bampton.

He served with the 2nd Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry that went to France at the outbreak of war.

Mr Wheeler died in the Battle of the Aisne in France on September 16, 1914, aged 29.

William Norman, who owned the Talbot Arms Hotel in Bridge Street, Bampton, served as a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserves and was appointed in command of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Industry. He was killed in action on October 18, 1918 with 19 other crew members when his ship was torpedoed and sunk by a UB92 in the Irish Sea. There were only four survivors.

ISAAC Woodley, was married to Rose Ann Woodley and lived in Broad Street, Bampton.

He served with the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards and died in Vermelles, Pas de Calais, France, on October 17, 1915.

Gerald Harvey, who lived in Little Place Cottage in Queen Street, Bampton, was an Royal Flying Corps pilot. A lieutenant, he died on November 8, 1915 when his BE21728 aircraft caught fire and crashed in Houthulst Forest, near Ypres, aged 22.

Henry Green, of Church Street in Bampton, worked for his builder father before emigrating to Canada in May 1913. He joined the Canadian Mounted Rifles in 1914 and was promoted to corporal. He died in the battle for Mont Sorrel on June 2, 1916, aged 24.

 John Wells, of Weald, near Bampton, was a teamster on a farm before joining the 5th Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

His division had assembled in Noeux-les-Mines and Beuvry before advancing on German positions when he was one of 950 men killed on September 25, 1915, aged 29.

William Morton, a farm labourer in Bampton, joined the Royal Navy when he was 16.

He was on HMS Hampshire about a milewest of the Orkney Islands when his ship struck a German mine. The ship, which included Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener, sunk and only 12 of the 657 people on board survived. The body of Mr Morton, who was 17, was never found.

Walter Lay, of Mill Green, Bampton, was a farm labourer. He served as a corporal in the 2nd Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, and died in France on September 12, 1918. His brother Alfred had died the previous year, but there are no records of another brother – whose name is not known – dying.

John Coverdale lived in Sandfords Cottage in Bampton and had an RAF career before fighting in the Second World War.The Wing Commander was married to Margaret Ailsa and they had two daughters called Ann and Caroline. Wing Commander Coverdale commanded Bomber Command 431 Squadron in Burn, Northumberland, since it was formed in November 1942. He died on June 22, 1943, aged 37, after his aircraft was one of 44 aeroplanes to be shot down when bombing Krefeld in Germany.

 Jason Mackie, who served as a private in the 3rd Armoured Support Group Royal Marines, died when his vehicle struck an explosive device in Afghanistan in May 2009. He signed up to the Royal Marines in June 2007, and was serving as a Viking All Terrain Vehicle Operator in 3rd Armoured Support Troop in the Basharan area of central Helmand when he died.

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