St. Osyth – St Peter & St Paul Church, War Memorials Old & New, & My Grandpa

The idyllic Essex village of St. Osyth, where I spent many a happy summer in my adolescence.

So me, the missus and the dog decided to go and see how the place looked, forty four years after my last visit.

This wasn’t here then.

Nor this.  Good job, Trevor.

I couldn’t remember where the village war memorial was sited, but I soon found it,…

…although photographing it was hardly going to be a breeze.

Hmm.  Well, let’s see what we can do.


Enough of this.

Let’s head off back towards the church, the scaffolded walls of the old priory on the left,…

…where we find what appears to be a second war memorial.

Which it most certainly is, and a much newer one too.

Inside the church,…

…a Roll of Honour of those who served – two surnames appear seven times, and two others six,…

…and a Roll of Honour of those who died.  There are four Emmersons among the names on this list; check how many appear on the other Roll.

Ah.  All is explained.  Apart from the year of reinauguration.

The postmistress, whose name was Kath, used to live up there in the ’60s.

Once my grandparents house, on the left.

My Grandpa fought throughout the Great War, in France and Salonika, suffering a piece of shrapnel the size of your thumb in his foot for his troubles.  We used to have the piece – I can remember it to this day – but it got lost in a house move in 1980, long after his death.  It must still exist somewhere, although no one would ever know what it was should they pick it up.

Luckily I still have a few items belonging to him.

This entry was posted in Essex, U.K. Churches, Memorials & Cemeteries - Back in Blighty. Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to St. Osyth – St Peter & St Paul Church, War Memorials Old & New, & My Grandpa

  1. Great photos.
    Thanks for all your work.

  2. Chris says:

    Thank you for the photos.
    One question; as your grandfather was a veteran, did he get a “special” burial place?
    My grandfather did; on the cemetery of his hometown, there’s a special block, not only for those he died during the war, but also reserved for those who fought but survived.



    • Magicfingers says:

      Not as far as I know, Chris. And I doubt it very much. He used to work on the London docks, but I’m not sure of his birthplace. I presume he is buried in St. Osyth, but I don’t know for sure, but as he moved there long after the war he doesn’t get a mention there (and of course he may have been one of those old soldiers who didn’t talk about the war afterwards, so maybe no one in St. Osyth ever knew of his service). I’ve probably got the relevant documents somewhere, so one day I shall have to check.
      But I think what they did for veterans in your Grandfather’s home was wonderful!

      • Chris says:

        Sorry for the mistake(s) in my post!
        Should of course be “not only for those who died”
        And part of a sentence went missing;
        “but also reserved for those who fought but survived, even at an old age (so not related to the war itself).
        BTW, it’s common practice here in most Flemish communities.
        And there are of course memorials in every town, city,…)

        Once again thank you for your great work, I may not respond to each post, but I do read them all.

        Oh yes, before I forget, while in the waiting room at the dentist, I found an article in a magazine, left behind by someone, about a new technique to scan former WWI battlefields, where you could clearly see where there had been trenches, dug-outs and the like. If you’re interested, I can send you scans of the article from that magazine. You should know my e-mail address, so contact me if interested.

        Cheers from Flanders,


        • Magicfingers says:

          No problem – I reckon we got the gist. And thanks for mentioning that you read all the posts – I never assume, even with long-time TBNers. I went to an interesting talk last night on Clearing the Dead – nothing new, but it reinforced certain points.

          Oh, you’ll get a mail, my friend. That’s for certain!

          • Magicfingers says:

            Mail sent yesterday Chris – check your spam if necessary for a mail entitled TheBigNote.

          • Chris says:


            I deleted everything in my spam folder…
            Could you send again and should I also scan the text (in Flemish) of the article (pictures are already scanned and ready to send)?



  3. Sid from Down Under says:

    I concur – great photos … and I daresay much nostalgia, especially seeing your grandparents house after all the intervening years …. Toosey has a very interesting history including notable people and a wind farm.

    Is there anything special you enjoyed there during your adolescent years? Noting a significant population increase at the nearby beach areas during holiday times I just wondered whether you may have bathed at one particular beach … I’m sure you’ll “get my drift” …. no you don’t have to answer that

    • Magicfingers says:

      Yes, it was quite nice seeing it all again. Nostalgic too of course. There are some places I would never go back to as I wouldn’t want to see then today, but St.Osyth was hardly likely to have changed much, and it hasn’t. And I have no recollection of such a beach, and would have been horrified at the age of eight or whatever. Perhaps the parents deliberately never went to said beach – there are plenty of beaches to choose from.

      • Sid from Down Under says:

        Hmmm …. 44 + 8 doesn’t add up. Counting back, I was thinking 17 or 18 … but to more serious matters.

        Your photos of the original memorial intrigued me. In keeping with the era, very ornate compared to the new memorial so typical of “modern” Crosses of Sacrifice (the CWGC must have standardised). is where I discovered this BBC WW1 at Home centenary. It seems the original memorial failed to mention all the names required and a second version also contained errors then the new memorial, erected 2000, is correct. Do you know whether “the second version” was simply replacement tablets attached to the original memorial?

        Would the refurbishment in your photos be part of the Armistice Centenary funding? If so I wonder how many other village memorials have been refurbished … there you go, I’ve given you a good reason to trip around after retirement.

        • Magicfingers says:

          Ah, well I reckon that although it was 44 years since I was last there, I hadn’t been there for a few years even then. By the time I was a teenager I was off doing my own thing rather than going on holiday with my parents.
          Thanks for the link – well found! It seems the ‘new’ memorial was inaugurated in 2000, so nowt to do with the centenary – and I think that the whole Cross, apart from possibly the base, is new. I guess the original memorial was the old one outside the church, the scaffolded memorial replaced it, and now that one has been replaced by a new one outside the church.

          • Sid from Down Under says:

            I think we’re talking at cross purposes, Mate. Clearly the 2000 new memorial is nowt to do with the Centenary but others have commented it’s good to see a village memorial having “a makeover” (that being your scaffold encased original memorial). That’s the one I wonder whether the reason for the makeover was 2018 Centenary funding that occurred across the Commonwealth (I was on an assessment and disbursement committee here – all applications were exceptional making it difficult to decide which proposals “won” the not-inconsiderable funding)

            The original memorial, as I understand, is still there and the “new” one is additional in another location.

            What date did you take your photos? Back you go …. to have a look for me. Take the Missus and wolf on another exploratory trip.

  4. Nigel Shuttleworth says:

    Another very interesting post MJS. Looks like the memorial is receiving a bit of a makeover – so nice to see as in many villages these things are left to slowly decay. PS The missus and dog look lovely too – although isn’t that a wolf, not a dog?!

    • Magicfingers says:

      Thanks Nigel. These posts usually go straight to the Back in Blighty section, as you may know, but this one seemed right and proper to put on the home page. The wolf is currently howling (singing) at me – when the missus decided to get another dog seven years ago I told her I’d walk down the road with a chihuahua or a wolf. We got the wolf.

  5. Magicfingers says:

    Chris – this time mail is entitled: theBigNote Once More.

  6. Magicfingers says:

    Yeah Sid, I was a bit confused. The best answer is I know no more, and it seems less, than you do! Photos taken in 2017.

  7. IainB says:

    Interesting article about “Toosey”, I’m in Wivenhoe! Drove past there yesterday on the way to Clacton, beautiful day, could have been April. It was a bit more sedate 40 years ago, like everywhere in SE England pretty crowded now. Don’t forget about the viewing point when you’re next in Nieuwkerke!

    • Magicfingers says:

      Well you live in a nice place all right. When I used to frequent St Osyth, there were no houses at all on the right of the B1027 before Pump Hill. My Grandparents lived in Colchester Road and at the end of their long garden there were nothing but fields. And I want to go to Clacton Pier and go on the rollercoaster! It used to head out to sea at a great height (seemingly to a eight year old) and then turn 90% and you were safe until next time. And I am trying to remember where we used to go crabbing and some neighbours of my Grandparents had a beach house? Maybe Lee? Unfortunately Google maps won’t allow me to drive down there, but I do remember a little river you had to cross just before arriving at the beach houses.
      You are a bit of a star, if I may say so, Iain. I have a folder full of places etc for future visits, and had I added your viewpont? No, I hadn’t. So I have now. Thanks for the reminder. Much appreciated.

  8. IainB says:

    Hi MF
    NE Essex isn’t the worst place in the world but I’d rather be in West Flanders, cycling, beer and WW1 history – where better? I remember the ride on the pier, I seem to remember part of it collapsed and was replaced by something a bit more sedate. Re the crabbing, if it was close to St Osyth may have been Point Clear, Brightlingsea or if further away, West Mersea (actually an island) which you have to cross a causeway to reach. I’m hoping to be in Dranouter late May if you’re in the area be nice to meet for a beer and a chat

    • Magicfingers says:

      Point Clear rings a bell certainly, but there were no houses at all on the last part of the road to wherever we used to go – hence I suggested Lee-over-Sands which looks to still have beach houses there? Brightlingsea I remember by name best, but we certainly went there – and Frinton. I have just remembered Lee Wick, Googled it, and that is on the way to Lee-over-Sands – I reckon that was it (also remember paddling across a river to get from house to sea, which I can also see on Google at Lee).
      I really haven’t got plans for this year sorted yet. A lot depends on work. But the idea is a sound one! We shall have to see, and you will doubtless remind me……..

  9. Rob says:

    Hi MF – I was searching for a plaque of Trevor Osben in St Osyth and there it is on your site. One of our contributors has mentioned Trevor in his story for Practical Boat Owner magazine in the Summer issue. Could you email me, the editor, robert.melotti @ and let me know your conditions?:×1133.jpg

  10. Trev says:

    Thanks for the photos.
    Being a quarter St. Osyth via my Grandma, nee Beatrice Wildney (1882-1958), I visited the church in 2008 and photographed the old war memorial plinth, which named her three Wildney cousins. So it came as a bit of a surprise to see that the memorial has now been replaced. I can see the view regarding the wish to keep the memorial looking pristine, but you know, I sort of appreciate the history of monuments also.
    Best regards,

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