These Were Our Sons: Stories from Stockwell War Memorial

by Naomi Lourie Klein (local resident)

In These Were Our Sons Naomi Lourie Klein has researched the lives of 574 men whose names are carved into the stone panels of Stockwell War Memorial in London SW9.

Using census information from 1911 and earlier, Commonwealth War Graves Commission information, original Service and Pension files, rolls of honour, contemporary maps and the vast resources of the internet, she has pieced together the lives of men whose stories would otherwise be known only to their families. Some of the families have contributed additional information and unique pictures.

The stories paint a picture of the hardships and sufferings of the men, and speak eloquently of their terrible fates. They include:

  • Thomas Skudder, who died in an accident testing grenades
  • Harold Hill, whose name was found in an old book bought at an Oxfam shop - and traced back to Stockwell
  • Frank Mason, at 16, the youngest man traced on the Memorial
  • Henry Dooley, sentenced to a year's hard labour
  • Thomas Pilgrim - a career soldier who died of pneumonia
  • Sydney Kemp, the prison warder promoted to officer
  • Edward Winter, who dropped his German surname
  • Henry Nadaud, a Major, remembered at Westminster Cathedral
  • Jesse Goff, cheerful on the eve of the Battle of the Somme

“Klein makes a memorial come alive – and records lives that deserve to be, as the hope remains, Not Forgotten.”  Ian Hislop

"The book is quite wonderfully moving and reminds us just how many families were torn apart in these streets that we love so dearly. The shock of reading of the sheer numbers lost, in our own neighbourhood, and the youth of so many of the fallen, makes me look at our war memorial with renewed humility and gratitude. It deserves a place in every Stockwell home." Joanna Lumley (Stockwell resident)

See www.elefantbooks.com for more information.

Contact the author at naomi_klein@yahoo.co.uk.