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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

'Lifetime of devotion'


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From yesterday's Daily Telegraph:

WHEN she was nine years old, Marjorie Dolman watched the funeral of 19-year-old Pte James Idle in her village churchyard.

She had never known the young serviceman, but she never forgot him. For the rest of her life she showed remarkable devotion by placing fresh flowers on his grave each day.

Last week, following her death aged 99, Mrs Dolman was buried next to her husband, Ted, in the same graveyard as the teenager she called her "little soldier".

"I suppose it was only schoolgirl sweetness at the time but as the years went by the feelings of grief became maternal," she said shortly before her death.

Family and friends of Mrs Dolman, whose husband died in 1959, gathered last week for her funeral at St Mary's Church, Hullavington, Wilts.

In the same churchyard, on Aug 29, 1914, she had watched the funeral of Pte Idle, from Bolton, of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was due to be sent to France but was struck by a train near I Malmesbury, Wilts.

He was buried with full military honours. "When the soldiers marched off I can remember feeling sad because the grave looked so miserable," said Mrs Dolman. Knowing that Pte Idle's family was far away, she vowed to tend the grave.

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A lovely story indeed.

CWGC entry for James Idle

Name: IDLE

Initials: J

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

Unit Text: 5th Bn.

Date of Death: 27/08/1914

Service No: 1878

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead


And the 1901 census entry for his family in Bolton, showing him aged 6.

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A wonderful story of Pte. Idle and Mrs Marjorie Dolman. Just the thing to remind us of the very good side of human nature.

Thank you Stephen for finding the CWGC information and the census printout.


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