Back to the Front

A project instigated by Roger Yapp researching Abbots Langley men and women of the Great War

Abbots Langley War MemorialThe Village War Memorial commemorates those who have fallen serving their Country in two World Wars. In the early days of the Great War, Vicar Parnell encouraged the unmarried men from the Village to stop lounging about and talking of war, and get to the nearest Enlisting Station. Over 500 men from the area, where the population was less than 3000, enlisted or were conscripted between 1914 and 1918.

Ninety-three men from the Parish died either during, or as a result of wounds received in the Great War. But what of the others who served and returned?

With the one hundredth anniversary of the start of the Great War (1914-1918), a Project has been initiated – “Back to the Front” – to trace and record all of those from the local area who served King and Country and establish the impact of the First World War on the locality.

Through publications, a web site, talks and maybe a dramatic production the Project will record details of all who served, and explain the impact of the War. A living archive will be established which will serve as a record for the use of historians into the future.

After the Great War, Britain, Canada and America all organised “Pilgrimages” to take ex-servicemen and their relations back to the battlefields and between 2014 and 2018 “Back to the Front” hopes to organise a Village Pilgrimage to visit places in Belgium and France pertinent to the men from the Parish.

Work has already started, and from Parish Records 630 Men have been recorded as serving. The task now is to find out something about each man – where they served, where they were fighting, information from their Service Records and War Diaries, and something about their lives in Abbots Langley and the impact of the War on the village and surrounding area. Information is being assembled from Local Records in the Parish and at Watford Library, the National Archives at Kew, and HALS. The Project is hoping that information will also be available from families of those serving who still reside in the area.

So if you can provide any information, letters, postcards or pictures of anyone who served in the Great War from the area, or can spend some time helping with the research, please contact Roger Yapp (01923 677507) or email Your Village Needs You!

Visit the Back to the Front web site at


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