War Memorial Tour to commemorate those who died in the Great War 1914-1918

Mister Hemmings Traditional Abingdon Morris Dancers will be touring local war memorials on 3rd November 2018 to commemorate those who served and those who died in the Great War of 1914-1918.


Saturday 3rd November 2018

10am – Abingdon Market Place
10:30am – Sutton Courtney Was Memorial
11am – Drayton War Memorial
11:30am – Steventon War Memorial
noon – Southmoor War Memorial
1:30pm – Charney Bassett War Memorial
2pm – Garford War Memorial
2:30pm – Marcham War Memorial
3pm – Abingdon Market Square

Many Abingdon Morris men served in the Great War of 1914-1918 and as a result the tradition of Morris dancing in Abingdon which dates back to the 16th Century was in danger of being lost. Regular dancing did not start again for nearly 20 years.

The villages we are visiting were in the catchment area for the recruitment of the men that went to war. They would have seen Morris dancing, possibly taken part and be effected by the war, so we thought it would be a nice thing to have this tour to commemorate them.

Of the Ock Street morris men known to be actively involved in the team immediately before WW1 the only one known to be killed was Joe Hemmings, one of James’ sons from 123 Ock Street  He was killed in action  at Contalmaison, France in February 1916

The pre-war team we know of were:

  • Willie Belcher
  • Jack Hemmings
  • James Hemmings
  • Joe Hemmings (Killed in the 1914-18 War)
  • Tom Hemmings
  • William Hemmings
  • ‘Stodger’ Hudson
  • Bertie Hudson
  • Bob Martin.
  • George Wake

Some of the men were too old to fight but others, such as Tom Hemmings and Bob Martin served and survived. As far as we know the team did not perform during the 1914-18 war. In fact it was nearly 20 years after the end of that war before dancing in public began again on a regular basis.

There are personal connections with current Mr Hemmings team members with long family associations with the town. The Abingdon War Memorial marks the loss of

  • 2 members of the Badcock family
  • 5 members of the Hemmings family
  • 3 members of the Leach family

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