The names of eighteen men from the parishes of Great Easton and Tilty who lost their lives in WWI and WWII are listed on the War Memorial in Great Easton: sixteen from the First World War, and two from the Second. There is also a framed, hand-written Roll of Honour listing the names of these men which is kept in Great Easton Church.
On Remembrance Sunday each year, Mike Ferris reads out the names from this list at a service in front of the War Memorial in Great Easton. There is no date on the Roll of Honour, and Mike does not know when it was produced, or by whom, but does know that it has been used annually since at least 1976.
A few years ago, Mike noticed that there is a name on the Roll of Honour that is not on the Memorial: Furley, H.M.
This name is listed fourth on the Roll, amongst those who died in the First World War, and in the period before 1915. Mike got in touch with the Tilty Archaeology & Local History Group (TALHG) to see if we could throw any light on this anomaly, but the name does not appear amongst those listed in other records from the same period. A search on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website lists 15 men named Furley, but none with the initials “H. M.”. The closest seemed to be an ‘Edward Hugh Mainwaring Furley’ who died in November 1914, but no obvious local connection was apparent.
However, subsequent research has turned up a local link with this young man, together with evidence which would fit with the designation ‘H.M. Furley’ on the Roll of Honour.
Edward Hugh Mainwaring FURLEY was born in 1886, and died in November 1914. He was the son of the Rev. Edward Mainwaring Furley and Mrs. Alice Furley, of “Cruck Meole”, Pontesbury, Hinton (Shropshire)
The family was well connected, and important enough that very detailed reports of family weddings appeared in local newspapers. In these reports, ‘Edward Hugh Mainwaring Furley’ is consistently referred to as ‘Hugh Furley’ [ tying in with the designation ‘H.M. Furley’ on the Roll of Honour ]. The newspaper reports also reveal a local connection; in 1893 Hugh’s sister Alice married a lawyer from an eminent Great Dunmow family: William de Vins Wade (who lived at Battailes in Great Easton from 1905 until 1922).
The 1911 Census shows that E. Hugh M. Furley (aged 25) was a farmer, living in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire. In 1912, from ‘Passenger Lists Leaving UK (1890-196)’, it can be seen that Hugh emigrated to East Africa:
Date of departure: 2/2/1912 Mr H M Furley – single
Departure port: Southampton Destination port: Kilindini, Kenya (East Africa)
It would seem that early in 1914 Hugh signed up with the East African Mounted Rifles, squadrons which were amalgamated from hastily formed volunteer units. He died in November 1914 – the following details are from the Commonwealth War Graves website:
Corporal FURLEY, Edward Hugh Mainwaring
Service Number 351 East African Mounted Rifles
Died 03/11/1914 Aged 28
Son of the Rev. Edward Mainwaring Furley and Mrs. Alice E. Furley, of “Cruck Meole”, Pontesbury, Salop, England.
There is also a report about Corporal Furley on the Shrewsbury School Website – “The news 100 years ago: 28th October 1914 / This week we remember”: https://www.shrewsbury.org.uk/news/news-100-years-ago-28th-october-1914
Exactly how and why Hugh Furley’s name came to be included in the Roll of Honour at some stage after the Second World War remains a mystery. William de Vins Wade, his brother-in-law, retired and moved to North Wales in 1922, where he died in 1926, leaving a widow but no children. Presumably some member of the extended family, living in Great Easton, felt that Hugh should be remembered in the country of his birth as well as in East Africa.
If anybody knows anything more about this story, do please get in touch (email to: [email protected]).
Research and report by Maggie Stevens.
Last updated 2nd October 2018