As the first world war drags on towards the end of its third year, a young man from a small Buckinghamshire village, Penn Street, is sitting in the trenches nervously waiting on the whistle that will send him and his comrades into the mud and slime of a Flanders field.

This is July 15th 1917 and it is the beginning of the 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). The whistle blows, and the troops go over the top.

The young man from Penn Street, Frederick Wingrove, is amongst the thousands of those who died in that tragic battle. His family never had the chance to bury Frederick as he was amongst those whose bodies were never found.

Frederick was born in 1899 in Penn Street, the third child of Thomas and Sarah Ann Wingrove. Thomas, a wood turner, had married Sarah Ann Hazel in the spring of 1892, and the couple went on to have seven children., including another son (Thomas) Frank Wingrove who also became a wood turner.

Probably father and son were working at the factory of the major employer in Penn Street, the chair manufacturer’s Dancer & Hearne. At the time of census in 1911 the family were living at Woodside Cottages in the village.

Just before the outbreak of the Great War Frederick’s elder brother Frank married Hilda Birch in the Spring of 1914. A year later their son Arthur J Wingrove was born. By this time Frank had enlisted in the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, serving in the 3rd Regiment for the duration of the Great War. After returning home to Penn Street village Frank and Hilda had two more children, Herbert born in 1920 and Mildred in 1922.

Like many of the Wingrove family Frank played cricket in the village team. In fact his father and uncle, now long dead, were founding members of the Penn Street village cricket club.

Today Frederick’s name lives on as an engraved memory on the war memorial in Penn Street Village, and also on the walls of the Menin Gate in the town of Ypres.

Both monuments stand as a permanent reminder of the sacrifice that Frederick and tens of thousands like him made for King and country and for whom a foreign field will be always be England.

As we reported last week in the Bucks Free Press 16 cyclists from the club will be embarking on the 180 mile ride from Penn Street to Ypres. In this the club will also have the support of 6 Royal British Legion motor-bike outriders, a great honour and privilege for our club, a small club with a large heart.

The motto of the ride is 100 Not Out, emphasising the cricket connection, and also a stark reminder that though 100 years ago, those men who sacrificed their lives should not be forgotten. Many of these would themselves have been cricketers.

It is also hoped that it will be a reminder that while war divides, sport unites, and it is with this in mind that as part of the journey of remembrance, the club will play a game of cricket against a local French team in Lille.

On the 4th August the club will honour the memory of the fallen, long dead but not forgotten, by lowering the club flag at the Menin Gate and by laying a wreath at the gate, in memory of Frederick. A parallel ceremony will be held back in Penn Street village.

Click here for our full report.

I am grateful to Richard Spooner, a member of Penn Street Cricket Club, for his assistance in preparing this article.