Compton Street

Aspects of the history of Compton in Surrey

Compton People

Who was who: biographies of some Compton people

When we surveyed the churchyard in early 2021, we became intrigued by the lives of the people whose memorials we found.

Compton men who died in the two World Wars (pdf).
It is over a century since the end of the Great War and all those who fought and lived to tell the tale have gone.
Jane Turner has published this booklet about the men from Compton who fought and died.

However, apart from those who did not return, there were others who suffered badly as a result of their war service. The Roll of Honour in the church shows that between 85% and 90% of those Compton men who served survived the war, a pattern found all over the country.

Compton is lucky to have a list of those who served because, in most places, there is no record. Their story is just as important because it is all too easy to forget that some of them suffered serious life-long physical and mental injuries as a result of their part in the conflict. They came back with bits missing or their brains damaged, men who could never again live a normal life.

These visible casualties of the war were regarded as a social embarrassment, receiving little sympathy or government assistances. Unable to hold down a proper job they often ended up in penury or begging in the streets.

So, when we fall silent to remember the fallen, please keep in mind "the rest of them":


So, what about the rest of us, the others who returned?
Muddled, jangled, jaded, mangled ... minds that slowly burned ...
We never speak of it by day, that endless, weary fight
But later on I slip away to dream and scream at night.

"It's really quite unfortunate, the chap has lost a leg
Can he sell some matches here?... He doesn't want to beg".

"No more children? Never mind, perhaps it's for the best.
I've always said that one's enough to fill a little nest".

"Pull yourself together man, you're muttering away ...
Whatever will the others think? Whatever will they SAY?"

Brothers, cousins, lost their lives - their names are on that wall
But what about the rest of us? There's nothing there at all.

By Sally Gorton

Compton CE Primary School (pdf).
These are just a few pictures of dozens from an photograph album of Compton School. It was complied by Mrs Marker (the school helper in the 1960s and 70s) who gave permission to use the photos. The album has since been deposited at the Surrey History Centre (ref: 7607).

A Compton charabanc trip in the 1920s (jpg).
This is the Farncombe and Godalming Belle full of Compton people on an outing to somewhere in the 1920s. The driver was Philip's grandfather, Walter Batchelor, who lived at Brook Cottages and this is him standing by the charabanc.

© Philip & Sally Gorton 2022