CHRISTOPHER LORTON SAPWELL

During the early summer of 2014 the Gt Linford Parish Council awarded a generous grant of £400.00 towards the restoration of the Roll of Honour which records the one hundred men of Great Linford who served during the First World War. This is now mounted beneath the War Memorial inside St Andrew’s Church.

The grant also contributed to the cost of a booklet entitled “St Andrew’s Remembers”, the result of a project undertaken by a group of people from St Andrew’s Church to research the lives of eleven of the one hundred, who died during that war.

During the research, it was discovered from the Parish records that one of these, CHRISTOPHER LORTON SAPWELL, was buried in St Andrew’s Churchyard in an unmarked grave which we have been unable to locate. Following communication with and enquiries to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), they have agreed to place a head stone in St Andrew’s Churchyard in recognition of Christopher’s service on the Somme.

In this connection the CWGC are interested in contacting any relatives of Christopher, to invite them to witness the installation of this head stone at some future date. If this applies to you, please contact the CWGC representative by e-mail: enquiries@cwgc.org.

For your interest, here are some details from the information we researched on Christopher:-

Christopher was born in January 1888 to Fred and Lucy Sapwell of 30, High Street, Great Linford. He was the eighth of their ten children according to the 1891 Census and at the age of 13 was a House Boy at Great Linford Manor.

Christopher married Louisa Temple, also from Great Linford, on 27 February 1909 but at the time of the 1911 Census, Louisa is shown as living with her parents and two brothers in Rivetts Yard, Great Linford, whilst Christopher was in Northampton Hospital.

Christopher joined the Army Veterinary Corps, Regimental No 9470, on 12 June 1915, having served two years in in the Bucks Volunteers. At this time he gave his occupation as Horse Keeper and stated that he was unmarried, giving his next of kin as his sister. We were unable to find any trace of Louisa Sapwell after the Census of 1911. This was recorded in “The National Roll of the Great War”:

After volunteering in June 1915 he underwent a period of training and was later drafted to France. During his service in this theatre of war he did excellent work attending to sick and wounded horses. Later in 1916 he was invalided to England with pleurisy and was finally discharged as medically unfit for further service on 14 June 1916. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star and the General Service and Victory Medals.

Christopher died on 16 August 1918 aged 30. TB was given as the cause of death. The Bucks Standard newspaper reported his funeral as follows:-

The mortal remains of Christopher Lorton Sapwell, late Army Veterinary Corps whose death we briefly reported last week, were laid to rest on Monday afternoon August 19th at Great Linford. The body was conveyed to the church on a gun carriage, the coffin was covered by the Union Jack and was attended by twelve Royal Engineers from the Newport Pagnell Wireless Depot” (Family and friends attending were then listed)

Three of Christopher’s brothers who also served, Lance Corporal Albert Sapwell, Private Ernest Sapwell and Sergeant Walter Sapwell, all returned safely from the war.

A copy of “St Andrew’s Remembers” can be read in the reference section of CMK Library.