The village of Puttenham sits just outside Long Marston, Tring, on the very edge of Dacorum. At the time of the First World War, the total population of the parish was 71. Of these 15 enlisted to serve and all of them returned.
There were few places in England where all the men returned safely. These places became known as “Thankful Villages”.
Puttenham is the only ‘Thankful Village’ in the County of Hertfordshire and the men’s names are recorded on a plaque in St Mary’s Church.
Until now, there has been little known about these men. See below what we have been able to discover.
Walter John Barron: In 1916, aged 36, Walter was an unmarried farm labourer who was living with his widowed mother Selina, when he was called up. He served as a Private in France where he was burned in 1917 and gassed in 1918. In March 1919 he was demobilized and transferred to the Army reserve. He died at St Paul’s hospital, Hemel Hempstead in 1961.
Ernest Henry Chapman: Ernest was born at Grange Farm in Astrope Lane during 1879; he was the son of Thomas, who farmed Grange Farm, and his wife Emma. Before the war he lived in Willesden and worked as a stockbrokers’ clerk. Unmarried, he later lived at Grange Farm before his death at the Royal Bucks Hospital, Aylesbury in 1933.
Arthur Edward Goodyear: Arthur and his father were platelayers on the railway. Arthur married Mabel Waters in 1911 and was a signalman when he joined up to the London Regiment in 1915 at Euston Station. Arthur and Mabel had a son Frederick in 1914. We know Arthur fought in Salonika and was demobbed to the Army Reserve in 1919.
Job Frederick Green: Job was a cowman who was born in 1894 in Puttenham, the son of Johnathan and Mary Green. Job was a Private in the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Regiment. In 1922 he married Ellen Jeffs in Berkhamsted and they had three children. Job died in 1966.
Ernest George Mapley: Baptised in Puttenham Church in 1900 and younger brother of Frederick John and William. At first he was a Private in the Hertfordshire Regiment and later on in the Labour Corps. He died in Oxford in 1968.
Frederick John Mapley: Frederick was known by his middle name John. He was born in 1896 and was Ernest’s older brother. In 1915 he enlisted in the Grenadier Guards when he was working on the railways in St Helens in Lancashire. He fought in France where he was wounded twice and in 1917 he spent four months recovering in Surrey from scarlet fever before returning to the battlefield.
William Thomas Mapley: William was the oldest of the three Mapley brothers who fought in the First World War. He was born in 1893. He married Florence Brazier in Aylesbury in the autumn of 1914 and they had two sons, Joseph in 1915 and Dennis in 1923. He died in 1985.
Ernest John Proctor: Ernest was born in 1884, the son of John and Emma, and lived in Long Marston. He was a cowman on a farm before being called up in 1916 and joining the Royal Field Artillery. During 1917 he went to fight in Salonika and remained in Turkey, having been promoted to Lance Corporal, until 1919 when he returned home.
Charles Rodwell: Charles is the younger brother of William Rodwell. He lived in the hamlet of Astrope where he was born in 1895. The son of Frederick and Jane Rodwell and like his brother he was a shepherd. Aged 18 he became a private in the Hertfordshire Regiment in 1914 and fought in France where he was promoted to Lance Corporal. After the war he stayed in farming at Alnwick Farm, married Bertha Newton and had two children. Charles died in 1950.
William Rodwell: William was born in 1887 in Wilstone but lived in Astrope where he was a shepherd. He was the son of Frederick and Jane Rodwell. He enlisted in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire regiment but later fought with the Notts and Derby Regiment. He later married and lived in Wilstone.
Frank Saunders: The son of James and Maria Saunders, Frank was born in 1890 in Astrope. He joined the Worcestershire Hussars in September 1914 and became a member of the Army Cyclist Corps. In April 1914 he was captured and became a prisoner of war before being released on November 18th, a week after the armistice.
James Saunders: An older brother of Frank Saunders, James was born in 1881 and had joined the 9th Regiment of Lancers of the Line, a Cavalry division, in 1901 when he was 20. After 12 years of service in India and South Africa he transferred to the Army Reserve in 1913 before re-joining in October 1914, fighting with the Lancers as part of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade on the Western Front.
Herbert George Saunders: Herbert was born in 1883, the son of Thomas and Ruth Saunders. In 1910 he married Gertrude Baldwin and they had a daughter in 1911. As a rifleman he fought with the London regiment in France between 1915 and 1917. When he was discharged after being wounded and he was given a silver badge. After the war he worked on the railways and he died in Tring in 1977.
Job Saunders: Born in Puttenham in 1882, the youngest child of William and Caroline Saunders, Job was a farm labourer as a young man. He was a gunner during the war in the Royal Garrison Artillery. In 1915 he married Margaret Proctor and may have had two children. After the war he was a road worker and died in 1963 at Craythorn Cottage in Astrope.
Daniel Stewart: The mystery man! There is no obvious connection but in 1939 there was a Daniel Stewart born in 1889 who did not work as he was disabled. It looks as if he had married Annie Ing in Willesden in 1916. Annie was working in the area in 1911 but she came from Buckland. Daniel and Annie had a son Thomas born in Amersham in 1917. Daniel died in Amersham in 1954. Is this Puttenham’s Daniel Stewart?