With my thanks
It is the work of countless individuals, projects, organisations and groups that have made mine possible. When one realises that each of these names is an individual; each a son, father or brother whose life was cut short, it stops being a purely 'local history project'. It becomes something more; something of national significance. National in scope, for their deaths occurred in Sandbach, France, Belgium, Germany, Syria and Turkey. National, too, in significance, for it is micro-history of this kind which, when combined with others, creates and constitutes the national narrative of loss and influence.
First and foremost, I must thank the Marjorie Newton and the late Frank Rogers for their work in producing 'The Men Who Marched Away', and for presenting a special edition to the School which initially peaked my interest. Their book was, in every instance, my first port of call when researching each soldier. As a result of such reliance, my copy fell to pieces. In an act of characteristic kindness, Marjorie replaced my copy so that it could continue to be of such use.
I must secondly thank Mark Potts, another faithful servant of local history and a kind and generous man, having donated some of the proceeds from his book to our Peace Garden Project in 2014. Thanks, in this case, must, too, extend to his humouring of a keen and inexperienced researcher, allowing me to cut my teeth and gain invaluable experience which has been useful in this endeavour. Again, on a number of occasions, it was Mark Potts' and Tony Marks' research, and Mark himself, who so generously pointed me in the right direction and whose work acted as a platform from which mine could take off.
The School was very kind in allowing me access to their records, and supporting me in my research whilst I studied there. It took a lot of trust, on their behalf, that I would balance my academic responsibilities with this project. Individual thanks must go to many of the individual teachers that encouraged me to become an inquisitive and questioning student, which I have utilised in my research and University studies.
Individuals that have encouraged me with their kindness, patience and belief are innumerable. The most unrelenting of these have been battlefield guide, historian and historical consultant Paul Reed and battlefield guide Mark Banning. In giving their time, gifts of books and wisdom, both have gone beyond the call of duty. When I have thanked them, they have assured me that they extended their friendship and support so that they might pass the torch of remembrance to a future generation. I trust, in my volunteer work, which has included creating and presenting an interactive Great War workshop for over 200 12/13, that I have proven that their support has not been in vain.
There are hundreds more on Twitter who have corrected me, supported me and given me their friendship. It would be unkind and unjust to name some without others and so I will name none, for you who have done right by me and this project know how keenly your support is felt.
I would like to thank the tutors, professors and academics that I have and currently study under at the University of Oxford. Their support and advice has encouraged me to be relentless in my research and their passion and enthusiasm has ensured that was no chore.
Finally, I would like to use this space to say an overdue thank you to my family for the love, support and trust that they have given me throughout this project. In particular, thanks go to my parents and my nan. As a child, they accompanied me to visit the old battlefields of the Great War even though their interest in the subject lacked. They continue to support me into my early years of adulthood.