St John’s Church in Minskip is holding a special service in memory of a villager who died in northern France just a week before the Armistice which ended the First World War.
The church will honour Eddie Mawtus at 11am on November 4, when a tree will be planted in the grounds in memory of him and two other servicemen, Walter Blades and Joseph Crookes, who also died in the war.
All three soldiers are honoured on the altar rail at St John’s.
Church warden Robert Beaumont said the cherry tree would be planted by Jill Boyes, whose grandfather was Eddie’s father’s brother. He added that everyone was welcome to come to the service – and that a number of Eddie’s relatives would be attending, coming from all over the UK.
Jill explained: “Eddie was the only child of Tatsy and Edwin, aka Ned, who was my granddad’s brother. They lived at Rose Cottage on the High Street. Eddie enlisted at the age of 18 into the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. In November 1918 he was deployed to the east of the Western Front in pursuit of enemy troops who were retreating towards the German border.
“The fighting was fierce as the Germans defended their rear flanks in a bid to avoid capture. The facts surrounding Eddie’s death are vague but the 4th of November appears to be the date when he lost his life in the Mormal Forest between Landreices and Le Cateau.
“It is fitting that he will be remembered at the Church of St John, which is a beautiful building and a significant resource for the community. Eddie, and most likely Joseph and Walter, would have attended school there before it was converted into a church in 1911. Eddie later attended King James’ Grammar School Knaresborough and his name appears on their war memorial,” said Jill.