Abstract

THE MEMORIAL TO THE PARISH DEAD OF THE GREAT WAR, 1914-1919, AT ST. RAPHAEL’S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, KINGSTON UPON THAMES

The War Memorial at St. Raphael’s Roman Catholic Church, Kingston upon Thames KT1 2NA, was installed in 1921, probably at the expense of the church’s owner, Captain, The Honourable George Savile.  It lists the names of 50 parishioners; 47 men and three women. An attempt was made to compile biographical notes for each person from computerised databases and other sources. A best match was sought for each name, i.e., someone who, on a balance of probabilities in the light of the accumulated evidence, was most likely to be a person behind a name on the memorial. Most of the men served in the British forces and thirteen appeared to be Belgian citizens who probably were known to parishioners who were Belgian refugees. A British woman was killed during a German air-raid on London by shrapnel from an anti-aircraft gun. Two French sisters, assumed to be known to an existing parishioner, were killed in a church during a German long-range bombardment of Paris.  One man did not die in the Great War and the name of a brother appeared to have been substituted for a sailor who died in the War. One soldier, stationed in England, was murdered by a comrade of unsound mind. In the time available, it was impossible to compile biographical notes for most of the Belgians and some of the British names, because of lack of information.  Attempting a best match for some of the names, e.g., Patrick Kelly, was like seeking a needle in a haystack because the forename and surname combinations were too numerous on the databases. It is hoped that this paper will awaken the memories of St. Raphael’s parishioners and others and that more information will become available about the people named on the war memorial.  Requiescant in Pace.

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The Author

David A. Kennedy, PhD

About 20 years ago, I accompanied my late wife to some talks on the use of computers in historical research and began to help her with her genealogical studies. Later, I took part in a project, organised by the Centre for Local History Studies at Kingston University, to digitise the Enumerators’ Books for the Kingston Census of 1851-1891. This rekindled my interest in history, especially that of Kingston upon Thames, where I live. This website has been set up so that I can share my research findings, some based on digitised material, with others who may be interested in them.

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