An unknown soldier
Putney’s ‘unknown’ soldier revealed after a century.
While examining early church records recently at the Surrey History Centre in Woking in preparation for a planned exhibition to mark the 150th anniversary of worship being established in 1870 at the present day site of Putney Methodist Church, David Armstrong discovered a copy of a programme for a service held in the church 100 years ago in 1920 to unveil and dedicate our War Memorial, which displays the names of 21 young members who had lost their lives in the Great War. Their average age was 23 years old. The programme may be seen here.
Comparing the ‘Roll of Honour’ shown in the programme subsequently with the names engraved in the church, however, David noticed an additional name which was commemorated in the service, Cecil Green, but is missing from the plaque. His further enquiries revealed that Cecil (born William Cecil Green in Stratford, east London), did indeed live with his father (an ironmonger) and mother, brother and three sisters in Carmalt Gardens, very close to the church, and was working as a clerk in the city before joining the London Regiment (like a number of the others listed on the plaque).
His battalion was posted to Flanders, and sadly military records now show that Cecil lost his life in November 1917. His name can be seen on the Arras monument for British soldiers with ‘no known grave’ (pictured below). He was 23 years old.
On this 100th anniversary of the memorial, we may now celebrate the sacrifice of Cecil alongside his comrades, who gave their today for our tomorrows.