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Search for stories behind names of 114 war victims

Appeal aims to reveal lives of Canonbury residents 'who did extraordinary things’

12 October, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Cllr John Woolf and the Rev John Beauchamp

A 114-name list is all that is known of those who died in one Islington parish during World War I.

But an appeal has been launched for family members to come forward to help paint a fuller picture of the men’s lives as the centenary of the end of the war approaches. The Rev John Beauchamp and Councillor John Woolf, with the help of Islington Local History Centre, have pulled together the list of those from in and around Canonbury who were killed between 1914 and 1918.

“I think it’s a really important opportunity to reflect on 100 years and look forward to the next 100 years, to really think about what peace actually means and to focus a lot on telling the stories of people who served, rediscovering the ordinary lives of people who went out and did extraordinary things,” said Mr Beauchamp, of St Stephen’s Church, in Canonbury Road.

“We want to really connect to people who were part of this area.”

It is hoped a physical map of St Stephen’s parish – formerly St John’s, St Matthew’s and St Stephen’s ­– could include details of the men to show the human impact of war.

Cllr Woolf, of Canonbury ward, said the young ages of the men stood out for him.

One of the youngest on the list is Private Horace John Smith, of Rotherfield Street, who died aged 18 just months before the end of the war.

Cllr Woolf, also church secretary, said: “I turned 30 in September and a significant number of these people are 18, 19, 21, 30. It’s almost unfathomable to me that level of sacrifice and service and tragic loss at such a young age.

“Once we had this list, there is something quite powerful, just in the starkness. We just have a list of names, their rank, service number, date of death, age and address. When you see that on an Excel spreadsheet, it’s tragic really.”

To get in touch with Mr Beau­champ, email vicar@ststephenscanonbury.co.uk or call 0207 226 7526.

Visit http://www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk/world-war-i-100-years-on/ to see the list.

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