When WAG Screen, community filmmaking group, decided to make a film to mark the outbreak of the First World War this year they wanted to tell a story that was unknown. They chose a memorial at random, Thimbleby in Lincolnshire, and researched it knowing that every soul involved in that war had a story worth telling. They were not looking for famous people or stories, for officers or decorated men; they wanted to tell the story of everyman. They were also aware that the paucity of surviving records meant that they may find out little more than name rank and number of the individuals commemorated.
With the help of Thimbleby residents Carolyn Paige and Ruth Bramley, initial research revealed that the five war dead from the First World War were farm labourers, waggoners and gardeners, but only very limited information could be found on four of them. However, the family of one individual, Robert Ashley Crowder, had kept a remarkable archive of letters, memoirs, scrapbooks, photographs and artefacts relating to the war years. With the help of Robert Holland, Robert’s great nephew, Pauline Loven pieced together the story of the Crowder family in Thimbleby from 1914 to 1918 (and after) and that became the basis of the script.