Edith Greatorex 17th March 1911 – 13th January 2007
Edith Clarke was born on the 17th March 1911 to Herbert and Elizabeth Clarke and lived her long life in Aston on Trent. The Clarke’s home was adjacent to the village hall and her father was employed at Aston Hall as a groom. She was three and a half when the Great War started and clearly recalled hearing the newsboys shouting “War! War with Germany!”
As the months went by the war made little impact on her young life – until the day arrived when her father appeared in Army uniform. Being an experienced groom he had joined the Army Veterinary Corps and was soon posted overseas where his duties included the collection of wounded horses and mules from the Front Lines. Whilst riding a blinded mule he was thrown to the ground and sustained injuries which caused him to be returned to hospital in England. Edith and her mother went by train to visit him in a Lincoln hospital.
1935 saw Edith married to William Greatorex who later went on to serve with distinction in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. William later became Aston’s postmaster when the village post office was located in the old village hall on Shardlow Road.
In 1994 Edith, at the age of 83, was persuaded by Ingrid Munro, wife of the Rev. Basil Munro, Rector of All Saints’ parish church, to compose an open letter to the young men of the parish recounting her experiences during two World Wars. Two short extracts from Edith’s letter provide a fitting conclusion to this Commemoration.
The letter opens:-
“To all our future young men growing up now to be, I hope, the backbone of a peaceful world free from the horrors of war and destruction”.
“I only hope your future is a peaceful and happy one – do your best to make it so”.