Shaftesbury Grammar School War Memorial

Thomas Norman Langford

Surname: Langford
Other names: Thomas Norman
Other people in this story:
Edward Langford
Harriet S. Langford
Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 9th Earl of Shaftesbury
Charles Henry Tovey
Locations in this story:
Park End Cottage, Love Lane, Alcester, Shaftesbury
Shaftesbury Grammar School, Shaftesbury, Dorset
Gillingham, Kent
Hartley Wintney, Hampshire
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
France & Flanders
Queen Mary Military Hospital, Whalley, Lancashire
Armagh Military Hospital, Northern Ireland
Langford's Lane, Shaftesbury
Holy Trinity Churchyard, Shaftesbury
Rouen, France
Bimport, Shaftesbury

Story:
Thomas Norman Langford was born in 1897 in Shaftesbury. He was the son of Edward Langford, a Veterinary Surgeon, and Harriet S. Langford. The family lived at Park End Cottage, Alcester, Shaftesbury. "Norman" attended Shaftesbury Grammar School from May 1908 and was awarded an Exhibition of £3 per annum for two years in the scholarship examinations of 1909. In 1912 and 1913 he passed the Cambridge Local Preliminary and Junior Examinations, and received a school prize for “Good Examination Work”. On leaving school in 1914 he joined the Gillingham (Kent) branch of the London, City & Westminster Bank.

On 10th December 1915, at the age of 18, he volunteered to join the Army at Hartley Wintney in Hampshire (Service No. 137554). It was not until May 24th the following year that the Attestation was approved by the Commanding Officer of the 2/5th Battalion of The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) at Tunbridge Wells. On November 28th he was posted abroad as part of the British Expeditionary Force in France & Flanders. On 26th February 1917 he received a severe gunshot wound to the neck and two days later was admitted to hospital in Rouen. He returned to the UK and on March 3rd was admitted to Queen Mary Military Hospital, Whalley, Lancashire. In July 1917 he was posted to the Royal Scots, but returned to hospital, being discharged from Armagh Military Hospital on 11th January 1918. On 17th February 1918 he was transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps (Service No. 5940).

On 12th August 1919 Norman was honourably discharged, being no longer physically fit due to Neurasthenia attributable to his war service. He was awarded the King’s Certificate and Silver War Badge. He returned to the family home at Park House in Love Lane, where his father ran his veterinary surgery. He received the Victory and British War medals in 1922.

In his “Tales of Old Shaftesbury” Fred Long recounts: “The direct road from Bimport to Love Lane (i.e. Langford Lane) did not exist and people walked down the lane as far as the surgery and to reach Love Lane had to bear to the right across Mr. Langford’s property. His son Norman contracted T.B. whilst serving in the 1914-18 War, but whilst he was strong enough to help in the work he and his father extended Langford Lane to reach Love Lane.”

Norman died of Pulminary Tuberculosis on 5th May 1923 and was buried in Holy Trinity churchyard.

On 16th October 1923 the Memorial Hall was opened by the Earl of Shaftesbury at Shaftesbury Grammar School. The ceremony was described in the November edition of the school magazine. The headmaster Dr. Tovey “read the names of the twenty-seven old boys in whose memory the Hall had been erected, and then Lord Shaftesbury removed the Union Jack from the beautifully carved oak tablet which recorded their names.” A wreath was “put at the foot of the tablet, bearing the words “Our Sorrow and our Pride. From the Old Shastonian Club.” Next morning this wreath was placed on the grave of T.N. Langford, the only one of the twenty-seven who was buried in Shaftesbury.”

The Shaftesbury Grammar School memorial is now in the school hall at Shaftesbury School. Throughout the war a hand-written list was also compiled of Shaftesbury Grammar School old boys serving in the armed forces. An asterix can be see next to the names of those who had died, but this is not the case with Norman, whose death had occurred more than four years after the war had ended. The board is now at Gold Hill Museum. 

Printed Sources: 
Tales of Old Shaftesbury by Fred Long, 1979

Shaftesbury Grammar School Magazine, October 1909
Shaftesbury Grammar School Magazine, May 1914
Shaftesbury Grammar School Magazine, October 1914
Shaftesbury Grammar School Magazine, November 1923

Images:
  • Grave of Norman Langford 1
  • Grave of Norman Langford 2
  • Grave of Norman Langford 3
  • Shaftesbury Grammar School Old Boys 5
  • Langfords Lane 1
  • Langfords Lane 2
  • Shaftesbury Grammar School Old Boys 1

Links to related web content / sources:
The National Archives
Shastonian