“ A thankful village” is the name given to each of the 55 villages across the country that have been able to prove evidence that all the men who left to take part in the Great War returned home alive. Scruton was one such, said Janet Crampton, Chair of the Parish Council. Thirteen local men had gone to war and the village was thankful that they all returned. The village raised funds, not as in most places to commemorate the dead, but rather to celebrate the living. A clock was placed in the Church tower as an expression of this gratitude.
Janet told us that the status of a thankful village was challenged as official census data was collected in anticipation of the commemorations of the 1914-18 War. Records suggested that there was a fourteenth man that left, not to return, a Private Ernest Corps. This was a challenge to a proud village and diligent research proved that, although borne in the village, he had been working in the Richmond area at the onset of hostilities and was buried at Easby. Proof given, the national accolade was restored.
The public interest had been stimulated and further research was set in chain to find out who the 13 men were – where they had worked prior to 1914, what they did during the fighting, and what happened to them on their return. One study related to three Kemp brothers – Arthur, Fred, and the youngest Herbert who had lied about his age on enlistment and was one of the 250,000 “boy soldiers”,
It was a very timely tale about a local community, presented with great enthusiasm and skill. Many members offered questions and their own anecdotes to end an entertaining and absorbing morning.