Members of the Goffs Oak community joined with relatives of Private William Uglow, the youngest soldier from the Borough to die in World War One, at a special memorial service on Sunday 4 November. Held at St James Parish Church in Goffs Oak, the service included elements of poetry, ballet and song as well as traditional scripture readings and hymns.
Private William Ernest Taylor Uglow was the youngest son of William and Florence Uglow. He lived with his brothers and sisters at Beaumont View, near to Bread and Cheese Lane, and afterwards in the parish of Goffs Oak. During the outbreak of war in August 1914, William was working as an apprentice at Marks and Clark law firm in Lincoln Inn Fields. He signed up immediately to Queen Victoria’s Rifles Brigade, a territorial regiment. After three months training, the unit was sent to the Western Front in November 1914. On 1 January 1915, the Battalion experienced its first major loss of life in trenches at Wulverghem, with 42 casualties, including 11 fatalities. William was one of those casualties. He was killed in action in what was to become known as the First Battle of Ypres, in Belgium. He was just 17 years old and is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial.
The service was conducted by Elaine Batten, church warden at St James’ Parish Church. Inside the church, a brass plaque is fixed in William Uglow’s memory and the Uglow family have donated silver crosses. Performances included wartime songs by Fairfields Primary School Choir, readings of My Creed and Abide with Me by the Royal Air Force Cadets who also laid a wreath as did the Cheshunt Sea Cadets. Rebecca Donnarumma sand Pie Jesu and Amazing Grace, whilst young people from the Valle Academy read poetry and performed ballet. Councillor Mark Mills-Bishop, Leader of Broxbourne Council, gave the address, telling of Private Uglow’s life.
A number of members of the Uglow family travelled from Hampshire to attend the service which they described as moving, respectful and a great honour. They brought their own memorabilia including medals and letters written by William Uglow himself. Other guests included Charles Walker OBE MP, the Mayor of Broxbourne Councillor Carol Crump, the Deputy Mayor of Broxbourne Councillor Steve Wortley, the chair of Broxbourne’s World War One Commemorative Panel Councillor Bren Perryman, the Chairman of Hertfordshire County Council Councillor Richard Thake, other Councillors and representatives from the Goffs Oak Community Association, local churches and local voluntary groups. Including members of the public, approximately 150 people attended the service.
The service was one of the concluding events of the Borough’s four year World War One commemorative programme which has included the For The Fallen community performance, screenings of War Horse and Private Peaceful, commemorative heritage plaques to recognise the contribution of Edith Cavell and Admiral Sir Hedworth Meux, the digitalisation of Stephen Warner’s war diaries, a ‘War and Peace’ poetry competition, a replica WW1 tank visiting Cedars Park and the granting of Freedom of Entry to the Royal Anglian Regiment.
A Borough-wide World War One service will be held on Sunday 11 November at 3pm at St Catherine’s and St Paul’s Church, Hoddesdon, to mark the end of the programme and the centenary anniversary of the Armistice. Public poppy-themed art displays are taking place in Cheshunt and Hoddesdon town centres.