THE FIRST AND SECOND WORLD WARS
THE FIRST WORLD WAR
Cranwell has been a flying training centre since the First World War when the Royal Naval Air Service Central Training Depot was opened at Cranwell in 1915. Since then, the aerodrome has been taken over by the Royal Air Force. The graves of 25 First World War airmen can be found on the north side of the church. The names of the six young men of Cranwell Village, or with family connections to the Village, who gave their lives in the First World War are commemorated on a tablet set into the North wall inside the church.
In the parish records there is a newspaper account of the dedication of the memorial and it reads as follows:
"The parishioners of Cranwell have placed in the parish church their memorial to the lads connected with the village who gave their lives in the Great War. The memorial consists of a painted window representing St Christopher, and fixed in the wall beneath the window is an alabaster tablet bearing the following inscription:-
"The above window and this tablet are given by the parishioners in grateful and loving memory of Ralph William Aldrick, Tom Coupland, Gerard Kirk, Newell Newton, James Payne, and George Tindall who responded to the call of their country and gave their lives in the Great War 1914 - 1918." On Armistice Sunday Nov 14th  at 3pm a Service of Remembrance was conducted by the Vicar, the dedication of the memorial being made the central feature of the service. The ceremony of unveiling the window and tablet was performed by Air Commodore C A H Longcroft CMG, DSO, AFC who read the form of dedication in a clear and impressive manner, and afterwards delivered a helpful address to the people from the Chancel steps. A large congregation was present, the additional chairs and forms which were requisitioned being all needed. The lesson from the 5th chapter of the Book of Wisdom was read by the Rev Major B W Keyner MA OBE who also preached the sermon at the 6.30 Evensong. The collections, amounting to £4/0/3 were given to the Memorial Fund. Many thanks are due to Miss Brown who so ably presided at the organ, and to the choir for their excellent services. The window and tablet were designed by Mr WH Bryans, and they have been greatly admired by all who have seen them."
The Church Log Book for 1920 also records the event as follows:
"On Sunday the 18th August the Rev Canon Walter Hicks preached at RAF Station for SPG at 9.30 (Boys' Service) and 11 (Men's Service). He also preached at Evensong (6pm) at the Parish Church. After the 2nd Lesson the Memorial Window to the Late Squadron-Commander Hew Dalrymple-Clark was dedicated. There was a large congregation."
The Servicemen who gave there lives were:
Private R W Aldrich - 8340
1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment who died 2nd February 1917 and is buried at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery. Belgium.
Private T Coupland - 13430
7th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment who died 2nd March 1916, aged 24. Son of Mrs Helen Coupland, of Cranwell Village. No known grave. Commemorated of the Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium.
Private N Newton - 8197
18th (Queen Mary's Own) Hussars who died 1st November 1914. No known grave. Commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial. Belgium. Newell Newton was one of 17 children all of whom lived in Cranwell. Five of the brothers served in the armed forces during the First World War. The other five survived the war,
Private G Tindall -10464
7th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment who died 23rd April 1917.
He is buried in Feuchy Chapel British Cemetery, Wancourt, France.
Lieutenant G Kirk
3rd Battalion attached to the 1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment died 20th July, aged 29. Son of the late Charles Kirk of Sleaford, Lincs. Buried Quarrington - St Botolph's Church yard.
Acting Corporal James Payne
James was born in Eltisley, Cambridgeshire and seems to have come to the Cranwell area to work on a farm as an agricultural engine driver. In 1914 he enlisted in the 8th Battalion, the Lincolnshire Regiment. He was killed on 4th October 1917 during the Battle of Broodseinde. Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the missing.
THE SECOND WORLD WAR
The churchyard was used between the wars for RAF burials and during the Second World War the eastern part of the churchyard was used for Service burials, not only from Cranwell, but also from other units including RAF Finningley, and RAF Binbrook. There are 58 War Graves arising from the Second World War.
Villagers who gave their lives in the Second World War were:
Ordinary Seaman George William Burt - P/JX 275190
George Burt served on HMS Culver, a United States Coast Guard 250 foot cutter transferred to the RN in 1941 for convoy protection duties. At 23.31 hours on 31 January 1942 she was sunk following a torpedo attack by U-boat 125. Eight officers and 118 ratings, including George Burt, died as a result of the attack. He was the son of Herbert William and Florie Burt and husband of Elsie. He is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
Lance Sergeant Charles Frederick Bristow, GM - 13005511
Charles Bristow's speciality was bomb disposal. He was awarded the George Medal when, as a corporal on 5th November 1940, he assisted Lieutenant J Walton to make safe a 250Kg bomb that fell inside a gasometer at Romford, Essex. The bomb was fitted with a clockwork time delay and an anti-disturbance device. They could work for only twenty minutes at a time because of the gas and an air raid was in progress at the time. For their efforts both men were awarded the George Medal.
On 1st April 1942, again with Lieutenant Walton and near Great Wakering, they attempted to defuze aYellow Peril balloon bomb. The bomb exploded killing Lieutenant Walton instantly and Sergeant Bristow died of his wounds three days later. He is buried in Cranwell Churchyard. He was the son of Fred and Rose Bristow and husband of Elsie, all of Cranwell Village.
THE CROSS OF SACRIFICE
In 1951 the Commonwealth War Graves Commission erected a Cross of Sacrifice in the military setion of the churchyard to commemorate all those who gave there lives during the First and Second World Wars. On Trinity Sunday, 20th May 1951, the Cross was unveiled by the Vice-chairman of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore and dedicated by the Bishop of Lincoln.