War memorials | East Norton

WW1 in East Norton

This window in east Norton church on the north side of the nave nearest the chancel is inscribed:

'These windows are dedicated to the glory of God and in thanksgiving for the safe return of all the men from East Norton who served in the Great War 1914-1918'

This is at least an unusual dedication and conflicts with the memorial brass on the north wall to the rear of the nave, to two members of the Matthews family killed in the 1914-18 war. This reads:

"To the Glory of God in Memory of Capt John B Matthews. M.C. North Staffs Regt Attd Leicesters. 

Killed in action near Polygon Wood France Oct 2nd 1917. Aged 26 Yrs.

Also of Capt William F Matthews, South Wales Borderers Attd East Lancs 

killed in action near Bethune France August 18th 1918. Aged 31 Yrs.

Sons of Major NH and AM Matthews 


Information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site revealed that the full names of the two sons are John Bredel Matthews and William Frederick Matthews. Both names are recorded on plot 5, Row D, Grave 3 in the Tannay British Cemetery, Thiennes.

Of William Frederick Matthews the web site records that he was "born at Tickhill Yorks. Son of Maj. Norman H. Matthews, T.D., and Anna Mary Matthews, of Ashley, near Market Harborough.

In his book about The Leicestershire Regiment "The Tigers", Matthew Richardson quotes from the War Diary of the 8th Battalion for October 1st 1917 that "At 10-15 am, Captain J.B. Matthews with left support company (D) moved from its position J.10.a.8.2, in order to make a counter attack against the enemy, holding the high ground in the vicinity of JOIST FARM. Unfortunately, Captain J.B. Mattews MC was killed instantly by a sniper when making a reconnaissance, preparatory to the attack"

Much more information about the family has been provided by Lt Col Alan J Sharkey TD who during research for his book about the Millers of Radway in Warwickshire, obtained a copy of a short autobiography by Major Norman Henry Matthews. He very kindly provided a copy along with other interesting information.

Extracts from this autobiography, fully explain that although Anna Matthews lived for a short time in East Norton, her sons resided elsewhere. It follows that their names would not be included in any memorial to the "Men of East Norton". 

It has now been established that indeed no man who left East Norton to serve in the 1914-18 war was killed and East Norton has been declared to be among the "Thankful Villages". The entry on the Thankful Villages website can be viewed on the following link. http://www.hellfirecorner.co.uk/TV/eastnorton.htm

Francis Smeeton Glover

Although no memorial inside the church, the name of Francis Smeeton Glover appears on his parent's gravestone in the churchyard as having been "KILLED IN ACTION AT THE SOMME". It has been established that although his parents were buried in East Norton, he lived in Somerby where his name is amongst others lost from that parish in the Great War on a memorial board in Somerby church porch, (see picture below) hence East Norton is entitled to be listed as a "Thankful Village"

Francis Smeeton Glover is also commemorated on his parents' gravestone in East Norton churchyard