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Emberton: Angel Memorial WWI

Emberton Memorial
As throughout the country, amongst the local towns and villages the war memorials are a ubiquitous and poignant feature, and, as befits a conflict of such horrific proportions, the names relating to World War One are not infrequently the most numerous. That being an age long before the mass media of radio and television, the letters sent home by the soldiers were readily published in the local press, and modern day readers may be interested to know that all the letters published in the contemporary newspapers have now been collated (alphabetically by town/village) for non profit publication in book form. (In fact those regarding Newport Pagnell were recently uploaded onto the website of the town’s local history society.) Apart from the ‘village green memorials,’ there are also many monuments to be seen in the local churches, and none is perhaps more startling than the alabaster angel at Emberton, which commemorates the seventeen local men who fell in World War One. This was given by the Sams family, and of their number the Reverend Frederick Hulton Sams is separately commemorated, for he was killed on July 31st 1915 on the wastes of the Hooge battlefield, ‘whilst crawling from cover to fetch water for his wounded men.’ Prior to the war he had spent five years as a ‘Bush Brother’ in Queensland, and the story of ‘the Fighting Parson,’ or ‘Mr. Fred,’ as he was affectionately known, will be the subject of a future article. On the wall behind the alabaster angel may be seen a brass plaque to another angel of Emberton, Nurse Nellie Decima Brown, the daughter of the village blacksmith, who, ‘after three years of suffering following four years of active service in the Great War,’ died on July 2nd 1921, from a lung disease contracted during her nursing devotions. All the men from the village who served during World War One are commemorated on the village clock tower, and on the subject of ‘angels’ the mention of F.C. Stanton D.C.M. is somewhat significant, for after courageous service in the trenches - indeed being regarded as the smartest man with the bayonet in the 6th Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, and decorated not only with the Distinguished Conduct Medal but also the Croix de Guerre - he was gazetted in 1917 to a second lieutenancy in the Royal Flying Corps. In fact as a pilot he would also excel, and, as will be seen in the forthcoming publication, his consequent aerial adventures could have well been a chapter for a Biggles book.