St Albans street remembers sacrifices of WWI heroes

A community event marking the launch of ‘King’s Road: for King and Country’.

A community event marking the launch of ‘King’s Road: for King and Country’ by Judy Sutton and Helen Little, which tells the stories of the street's WWI heroes. - Credit: Donald Lush

Forgotten heroes of the Great War who all lived in the same St Albans street are finally receiving proper recognition for their sacrifices.

King’s Road had one of the highest losses of WWI,  but because it was not part of the Abbey parish it has no memorial.

Fifteen men from this small street  lost their lives serving their country. The youngest was 16 years old and the oldest was 38.

Three were brothers. Their occupations included a cowman, a sawyer on the Gorhambury Estate, a boot factory worker and a gardener. At least two had attended St Michael’s School.

A new book, ‘King’s Road: for King and Country’  by Judy Sutton and Helen Little, finally tells their stories alongside a concise illustrated history of their street.

All proceeds from its sale will go towards the erection of a war memorial in King's Road to honour these 15 brave men.

The book was officially launched at a special ceremony attended by residents, St Albans Mayor Cllr Edgar Hill, and MP Daisy Cooper, which was followed by a performance of WWI songs by Kate Lindeman.

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John Mole, from neighbouring Hill Street, was asked to contribute poems to the book to celebrate the lives of four of the soldiers, including drummer boy Thomas Coleman, the youngest man on the street not to return from the Great War.

He said afterwards: "It was a great pleasure to participate in this excellent and welcoming community afternoon. I have always felt a part of the local community but this particular occasion brought home to me just how close knit we are."

Paul Hart is a relative of one of the 15, and said: "Thanks so much to everyone else involved in organising this event. We had a great time and my parents enjoyed meeting people in the street and catching up with relatives, including one cousin my dad had never previously met.

"The whole event was so enjoyable and also the tone between remembrance and celebration was really nicely judged. We're looking forward to seeing the memorial when it is completed."

To purchase a copy of the book email kingsroadbook@gmail.com, phone Judy Sutton on 01727 857794, or write to 34 King’s Road AL3 4TG. A free local delivery service is offered.

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