Stanton after the War
Lloyd George, the then Prime Minister, declared that he wanted to, ‘Make Britain a country for heroes to live in’ but the reality in the country was that many returning ex servicemen faced unemployment, homelessness and poor housing, as well as learning to live with the consequences of physical and mental injuries on a scale never seen before.
2 million incidents of wounding were recorded between 1914-1918. Stanton men were among them.
Many men found themselves simply unable to speak about their experiences. Never before had sorrow and trauma been so prevalent. The country was also in massive debt, 127% of its national income being debt accrued, similar to Greece recently. 8% of the population found itself paying income tax, as opposed to 2% in 1913.
Women, under 30 and non-householders, were frustrated by their lack of a vote despite helping the war effort enormously by taking on men’s jobs, and had to deal with potentially traumatised returning husbands, partners, and sons and securing their reintegration back into family life.
How much of this affected Stanton is impossible to judge, because issues of unemployment and housing were probably not pertinent, but the emotional baggage that the whole community would have carried would have been echoed around the country. Nevertheless the village did rally round. Parish council minutes record the following :
May 1919 Mrs Thornhill be asked to give up a piece of land permanent (sic) as a War Memorial for Stanton
Albert Prince (war veteran) elected as Secretary for War Memorial Committee;
July 1919 At a public meeting, Peace celebrations were proposed involving sports, procession and bands (proposed by Cornelius Holmes (war veteran), Committee set up with Cornelius Holmes as a member);
August 1922 Sherwood Foresters memorial mentioned in relation to a Flag Day being held.
All the men who survived returned to Stanton and many lived out their lives in the village and/or the surrounding area: Leonard Prince became the landlord of The Flying Childers; George Stuart Broomhead was a crane driver at a quarry and a chimney sweep in the evenings; Jim Fryer worked as a joiner and undertaker, taking over the business from his father; Thomas Raymond Housley worked at Cauldwell’s Mill as a salesman; George Wragg was killed in a crane accident at a quarry ; Daniel Holmes moved to Birchover where he ran a shop; George Gladwin returned to his job as a gardener at Stanton Hall; Alfred Prince was a joiner for Stanton Estate and a local preacher; Albert Prince was disabled but made beautiful wooden objects; and George Siddall ran a transport business.