Eastleach War Memorial – James Temple

James Temple is something of a mystery but he obviously had Eastleach connections to be inscribed on the war memorial. I had always assumed that, after the Armistice, when the first memorials began to appear, a national directive advised on the criteria which should be used when inscribing the names. While researching I found that this was not the case. Towns and villages could decide their own criteria and consequently some memorials name only those who died, some added those who served overseas and some those who served in some way on the home front. Another thing which I found surprising was that there is little or no mention in local records of either the war itself or the erection of the memorial, which may well have been paid for by public subscription. The best that can be done is to show a postcard of Eastleach, with the memorial in situ, which is in an album which was given as a present and signed and dated 1921.

In the 1901 census, there is a George Temple and family living at The Belt, Upton. This is still on the OS map as a plot of land on the other side of the A40. George, aged forty-eight was a shepherd, born in Shilton. His wife, Mary Ann, aged forty-five, was born in Fulbrook. They had three sons ranging from George aged eleven, James aged eight and born in Shilton and John aged six. In 1881, George and Mary Ann were recorded living in Langley with a two year old daughter, Elizabeth. By 1891, George, still a shepherd, was living in Swinbrook with another son, William aged fifteen, a ploughboy who had been born in Eastleach around 1876. By 1911, the family are still at The Belt, Upton but now only James and John are at home, both working as horsemen on a farm. This is where the trail runs cold. It is not impossible that the sons were working with horses on one of the Eastleach farms on that side of the parish. A Frank Temple, described as a farmer, and his wife were recorded in 1911 living at Fyfield so perhaps this is the connection. An Edward Temple, born in Eastleach, and son of David Temple of Macaroni Downs, enlisted in 1914 but was discharged three weeks later. Any of these could have been related to James but there is no obvious connection.

I have so far found no record of James in any World War I archives. Somehow he seems to have slipped through the net. The Gloucestershire Regiment archivist has suggested that he may have served at home in some sort of uniform and never went overseas. There is also the possibility that when horses from the farm were requisitioned for the war, James went with  them but never signed up in the formal way. Whatever happened to him, someone thought that he should be on Eastleach memorial for whatever reason.