ONE hundred years to the day the first soldier from Claines was killed in the First World War - a book is being released to remember the village's dead.

There are three memorials to the First World War dead within a few hundred yards of each other at Claines Church, Claines School and Claines Church Institute.

However, in past times the school memorial was moved outside from the main classroom away from the eyes of the schoolchildren and the Institute Memorial was thrown out by a past curate who did not wish to glorify war, re-instated and then smashed up by builders in later years.

But thanks to painstaking research and more thoughtful generations, all have survived and have now been brought to life in a new book remembering all of those who died from Claines by writer Geoff Sansome.

My Sansome will release Sons of Claines on Monday, October 20, 100 years since the first death of a Claines soldier Serjeant John Clinton in 1914 at Ypres.

Mr Sansome, from Hawford, near Claines, said: “I helped my late uncle rescue and restore one of the memorials in the 1990s and since then I have worked to research all of the names.

"Many of them were the schoolboy friends of my grandfather who fought at Gallipoli and survived."

The book provides a comprehensive account of the lives and deaths of the 28 soldiers officially recorded as Claines war dead, the 14 Old Boys of Claines School and it has uncovered another 13 casualties who were born in Claines but are remembered elsewhere.

As the individual stories unfold, the growing impact of the war years on the parish and its families becomes evident.

Claines worst day was December 3, 1917.

The Munn brothers from Cornmeadow Lane, in different regiments, fought in the same battle at Cambrai and died on that day.

Falling alongside them on the same day, also at Cambrai, was Arthur Banner of Checketts Lane.

Two Claines School friends, Harvey Barnes and Walter Garland, who joined the Worcestershire Yeomanry together, were killed in the same battle on Easter Day 1916, with another Claines man, Percy Divers, taken prisoner of war by the Turks and dying in captivity.

Officer sons of Claines wealthy land owners dying alongside the sons of their tenant farmers.

Mr Sansome said: “Not many made it home to be buried at Claines but even so we have the graves of a Brigadier General from the Royal Field Artillery, yards away from one of his gunners resting in the churchyard”

The 54 page book draws on regimental histories, local knowledge, army pension records and has over 70 photographs, many of them originals which have been loaned from family collections and the Berrow’s Journal Pictorial Supplements from the war years.

Vicar of Claines, reverend Jo Musson has written a forward to the book: “Reading the book, it soon becomes clear what a levelling effect the Great War had.

"No family, however great or good was exempt.

"We hear about sons of gentry, sons of labourers, those who died in Europe and those who fell in Egypt.

"This small book has been written to help us honour and remember those men and to put flesh on those dry bones that in most cases lie under the grass of Flanders Fields in Belgium.”

While writing the book, Geoff has made contact with surviving family members, some of whom still live in Claines.

In 2010, he was also able to provide a full account of the life and death to the 95-year-old daughter of one of the Claines soldiers, a father she had never known as she was born in the autumn of 1914.

Sons of Claines costs £8 and can be purchased from Claines Church, Claines Royal British Legion or online at with all proceeds to The British Legion.