A Short Story About Two Crowlands

(Supplied photo)

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Above is a photo of the war memorial from Crowland, in the United Kingdom. It shows an image from the Remembrance Day service held in that town, November 11.

The photo was provided to me as a  response to coverage of the local Remembrance Day service, showing the Welland-Crowland War Memorial in Chippawa Park, Welland. The sender noticed the word Crowland had application both here and back home in the UK.

I did some research on the name Crowland, first online, then turning to a trusted local favourite, Aqueduct, Merrittsville and Welland, A History of the City of Welland, the trilogy written by local historian and author, William H. Lewis, now deceased. Volume 1 has this info about Crowland:

“Many of the place names in the Niagara Peninsula originated in Lincolnshire in England, and were chosen by Colonel John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. This British county is located on the coast of the North Sea, about 100 miles north of London.

“Crowland is an ancient Lincolnshire town on the River Welland. Saxon King Ethelbert founded a monastery at Crowland in the year 716….”

The online research led to some travel sites. According to one of them,
a visit to the war memorial is part of a compilation, The 15 Best Things to Do In Crowland.  Below are three comments that were posted by recent visitors:

“The roll of honour is Crowland’s memorial to the service people lost during the wars. Interesting just to stand quietly and read the names.”;

“Lovely open air memorial to those that died fighting for the freedom of their country. Situated in a quiet corner of the village where you can sit and reminisce with your memories.”; and,

“There are just over fifty towns and villages in England known as ‘Thankful’ towns or villages because all the men who left to fight in World War One came back alive. Sadly Crowland is not among them.

Today Crowland has a male population of just over 2000. In 1914, with life expectancy being less and Crowland being perhaps smaller there were probably fewer.

Crowland has a War Memorial listing over 80 names, of which some 66 lost their lives in World War One. Four of their number received the Military Medal. Sixty six lives lost must have been a terrible toll a hundred years ago. It was called ‘The Great War’ and ‘The War to End all Wars’. Sadly within 20 years a further war came along and in due course a further 16 names added for that conflict plus two more for later wars.

Two families lost members in both World Wars as their surname appears under both wars.

Crowland is a lovely, peaceful place to visit, hopefully never to be touched this way again.”

The Welland-Crowland War Memorial in Chippawa Park lists the name of war dead from the two local municipalities in both world wars. There are 91 names from the First World War and 94 from the Second World War inscribed on the back of the monument.

Our Crowland no longer exists, except perhaps in memory, mementoes and a few names and landmarks. The township was annexed by the city of Welland in 1960.

A ‘Thanks!” to the sender of this captivating photo.


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