St. Radegund's Church, Maplebeck
Photo courtesy of Joan and Malcom Dexter

Only five English villages have parish churches which are dedicated to St.Radegund. Two of these, Maplebeck and Scruton, are Thankful Villages: an illustration of the high level of  luck and chance involved in becoming a Thankful Village. [The other three are Graylingham, Lincolnshire; Postling, Kent; Whitwell, Isle of Wight; which are not  Thankful Villages.]

This small village sent two of its sons to the Great War: William Henfrey and Percy Whitworth. Their service in the Army illustrates the way that chance and random luck determined whether a village would be a "Thankful" one or not.

William Henfrey came through unharmed and returned to Maplebeck  to take up the trade of butcher. Percy Whitworth's photograph, reproduced in "Maplebeck - Continuity and Change" by Rachel Gardner, (Nottinghamshire Living History Archive, 2002), shows a cap badge which looks, through a magnifying glass, to be that  of the West Yorkshire Regiment. According to Rachel Gardner  he was wounded twice. The first time was a minor injury when a bullet (spent or ricochet?) hit his cigarette case. The second time he was wounded by shrapnel and left in the field for five days before he was picked up by a German patrol. If some German soldier had not noticed that this English soldier was injured, not dead, and Percy had been left there instead of  being rescued as a prisoner of war, Maplebeck would not be a Thankful Village. Percy returned at the end of the war to where he was born: The Beehive, which Arthur Mee says is "the smallest public house in Nottinghamshire".

As far as we can discover, in Maplebeck there is no war memorial for the Great War, or commemoration of William's and  Percy's service.

Text - Norman Thorpe

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