Image for Leintwardine, Herefordshire: From Forge to Frontline

Leintwardine, Herefordshire: From Forge to Frontline

Duration: 03:17

At the start of the 20th Century, horses were essential to life in villages and towns across Britain - including Leintwardine. The Malpas family ran one of two blacksmiths on Watling Street in the middle of the village. William and Jane-Elizabeth had three sons; Sydney, Percy and John, known as Jack, and four daughters.

Horses were essential for farming, transport and the local economy and the eldest sons Sydney and Percy were learning the trade as apprentices at Smithys in Norton near Presteigne and Quatt near Bridgnorth.

When war broke out in 1914, Sydney had already left Britain for Canada but he, together with Percy, signed up, and they were later followed by their younger brother Jack. Horses would continue to be at the heart of their lives - which would take three very different paths.

Sydney survived the war and went on to work as a blacksmith in South Wales, Percy, a corporal shoeing smith with the Worcestershire Hussars, was killed in action in Egypt on Easter Sunday in 1916. Jack was severely injured and had his leg amputated in November 1918. He lived in the village, in a caravan behind the pub, until his death in 1951 and is remembered for “sitting on the railings, shouting at people and waving his leg and turning it around and around to scare us”.

Location: The Blacksmiths, Watling Street, Leintwardine, Herefordshire SY7 0LL
Image shows members of the Malpas family, courtesy of Leintwardine Historical Society
Narrated by Nicola Goodwin

Available since: Wed 28 May 2014

This clip is from

World War One At Home

WW1 at Home: a growing collection of stories about life on the WW1 Home Front

Image for World War One At Home

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