Appeal for war stories is a success

Cotswold Journal: Claude Alexander Birts who served throughout the war in The Royal Army Medical Corps in France as a Lieutenant Claude Alexander Birts who served throughout the war in The Royal Army Medical Corps in France as a Lieutenant

PEOPLE in the Cotswolds have started to come forward with memories and information about their relatives who fought in the First World War.

As previously reported, the Chipping Norton branch of the Royal British Legion is marking the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the conflict with an event in conjunction with the Town Council on Sunday, August 3.

And following the legion's appeal in December for people with ideas for the commemoration or letters or stories of relatives who served or lived through this period to come forward, stories are starting to trickle in.

One of those to emerge came from a Toddington resident whose grandfather Claude Alexander Birts lived in Market Street, Chippy, where he worked as the town's GP. lived in Market Street, Chippy, where he worked as the town's GP.

He served throughout the war in The Royal Army Medical Corps in France as a Lieutenant, rising to temporary Captain by the end of the conflict, and was affected by a gas attack.

He and his wife Mary, who he married in 1913, had a son and daughter in Chipping Norton, but the cold winters in the town began to affect his health and by 1927 he moved to Worthing, Sussex where he died in August 1947, aged 66.

Steve Kingsford, liaison officer at Chippy RBL, said: "I have had a few people contact me, including one whose grandfather was sunk twice at The Battle of Jutland.

"But many of these stories are in danger of being lost for ever as not only are all the participants gone but their sons and daughters too."

If anyone has information or memories or any other residents of Chipping Norton and surrounds that served in World War One, Chipping Norton’s Royal British Legion would like to hear from you.

Contact Steve Kingsford on 01295 780558 or email stevekingsford@gmail.com.

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