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St Anne's Oxenhall War Memorial

It is a contradiction perhaps that at this most quintessential part of England, amongst the lambs and the daffodils, gazing across the rolling hills and tree lined lanes that there should be a memorial predominantly to a man lost to the Great War, not of the Western Front or Gallipoli, not of the Middle East or Eastern Europe or Italy - but of Africa. A man of Oxenhall who died not in a muddy trench or a barren ravine, but in jungle and bush extremes in what we know is Tanzania, in East Africa, on the edge of the Indian Ocean.

His name was Andrew Brooks Knowles.

In June 1917, a year after his death, a war Calvary was dedicated in the churchyard at Oxenhall by the vicar of Highnam and Rural Dean, Canon Park. It was stated that the Knowles family had used to live at Newent Court but had moved to Taverham Hall outside Norwich in Norfolk.

The Calvary which now stands is that one commemorated in June 1917 for a son who never came home from war; and was lost so far from them.

On the memorial it states:

To the glory of God

and in memory of Andrew Brooks Knowles

This cross is erected by his mother

He fell in action in the great European War

June 11 1916

aged 31

Sans peur and sans reproche RIP

There are also seven men from the parish commemorated on the memorial, six died during the conflict and one came back to the UK injured and died in 1919.

The six men all died fighting at the northern end of the ever-moving Western Front. With the help of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission John Bowers located their resting places and in mid-February 2014 visited France and Belgium and laid a small Poppy Spray for each of the six men. The sprays were blessed by the Reverend Tony Lomas at the Holy Communion Service on 9th February 2014.

The Memorial honours the following

Andrew Brooks Knowles

Fredrick H Bayliss

William Henry Cox

Arthur John Little

John Loade

Arthur E Merrick

Thomas James Merrick D.S.O. M.C. Croix de Guerre

Alick M Williams

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