Lucky 13 for village men during both world wars

Lucky 13 for village men during both world wars

THANKFUL: Tony Collett with a German bomb dropped on Upper Slaughter and his father’s medals. Picture by Nick Toogood.

3314674702. 12/08/14. Tony Collett from Upper Slaughter. His father George Collett fought in both world wars and returned unharmed from both conflicts. Tony with his father's medals of service from both wars. Picture by Nick Toogood. (9219435)

3314674703. 12/08/14. Tony Collett from Upper Slaughter. His father George Collett fought in both world wars and returned unharmed from both conflicts. Tony with a German incendiary device from WWII. Picture by Nick Toogood. (9219437)

First published in News
Last updated

RESIDENTS in one Cotswold village commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War have every reason to believe 13 is their lucky number.

People in Upper Slaughter can be doubly thankful that the village is one of 13 across Britain whose menfolk returned neither killed nor injured after both the First and the Second World Wars.

Twenty five left to fight in the First World War and 36 fought in the Second World War and they all returned without injury.

Villagers also escaped injury after a cluster of incendiary bombs were dropped on the Upper Slaughter on February 4, 1944.

Lifelong Upper Slaughter resident Tony Collett, aged 83, remembers the day the bombs fell - and even has one of the unexploded devices, now made safe, in his living room to remember what took place.

He said: “We were very lucky. The incendiary bombs hit many barns and homes which caught fire but no-one was injured.

"They came down at about 5am in the morning and me and my sister, who were being looked after by our housekeeper, just went out and helped everyone else put the fires out.”

He said a lot of the bombs failed to go off so villagers emptied the gun power out of them and kept them as mementoes.

Mr Collett’s father, George, served in both wars as a Quarter Master Sergeant in the First World War in the Gloucestershire Regiment and later in the Royal Artillery as a Battery Sergeant Major.

Mr Collett, who is a parish councillor and still works in the family building firm FW Collett and Son Ltd which was started by his grandfather in1890, said Upper Slaughter would be marking the centenary of the end of the war, rather than the start.

“We decided we would not celebrate the beginning of the First World War. We would rather celebrate the end," he said.

Men from about 16,000 villages across England and Wales fought in the Great War.

It is believed only those from 51 villages all came back alive.

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