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Shirley Knapp (nee Cochrane) is a leading member of Lemsford Local History group and has provided more memories and images for our archive than any other member. When we asked her for her memories of WW1 that were passed onto her she produced a comprehensive, personal and loving recollections of her family, she bought them all to life for this generation. Her first article ‘Cochrane family Loss & Grief,’ deals with the reality and hardship of WW1 to a close country family. Her articles about the members who died, wounded and returned give a feel for the times. Her images provide us with an idea of what those times were like to live through. – Thank you Shirley To find full list of Census entriesClick Here

Cochrane family Loss & Grief

During the 1st world war Robert and Marion Cochrane were living in one of the Riverside Cottages near Lemsford Mill. Their 2nd son John, a flour mill Waggoner with Lemsford Mill was living with his wife Lucy (nee Halsey) and family on Church Hill. Robert and Marion had lost their eldest son Robert in the war in South Africa in1898 so it was a further blow when their youngest son David was killed in France in 1917. James Hasley, the brother of Lucy Cochrane, was killed at Bethune, France in 1916. He was serving with the Canadian Armed Force.In 1918 came further sad news that John and Lucy’s eldest son John, who was farming in Canada, was drowned in Lake Saskatoon whilst trying to save a friend.

Robert & Marion Cochrane Lucy & John Cochrane

We regret to announce that the following have been killed in action. Lance Corporal James Halsey of the 49th Canadians, a former resident of this parish and brother of Mrs Cochrane of Church Hill.

Lemsford News September 1917

Roll of Honour: News has been received by Mr & Mrs Cochrane of the death of their son, Private D. Cochrane, of the West Kent Regiment., killed in action on July 5th. Private Cochrane formerly lived in Stanborough. Much sympathy is felt for his parents, and widow who is left with four little children. Mr & Mrs Cochrane’s eldest son died in South Africa, so this is the second they have lost in the service of their country.

Lemsford News October 1917

War Note: We regret to hear that Sergeant James Cochrane has been seriously wounded. We gather that the bullet, after passing through his elbow, entered his chest. His escape was providential, and we sincerely hope that he will soon be restored to health again. He is at present in Hospital in Sheffield.

Lemsford News January 1919.

Very sad news has reached us from Canada, that John Cochrane, who went out there some years ago, has lost his life by drowning. He could have saved himself had he not gone to the rescue of his companion. Very deep sympathy will be felt for Mr & Mrs Cochrane in this great loss. John Cochrane had done well in Canada. He had worked hard and prospered. It seems a terrible pity that he should have been taken in this manner: and yet so fine an end was probably of greater value than anything else he had done. It is one more of the many noble deaths we have to record lately.

Lord & Lady Desbrough of Panshanger House lost 2 sons in the 1st World War. A 3rd son was killed in a car accident in 1926. Above is a letter from Lucy Cochrane to Lady Desborough in 1927 which shows some of the grief and suffering of the families during those wars.

Lemsford Local History Group have a large archive of documentation & images for all aspects of history in Lemsford Parish. For our website we require your help to update and provide memories, facts and images about all aspects of the past in Lemsford Parish. Please Contact us on

Andy Chapman LLHG

Enjoy Our Images

All photographs, images, PDFs and text used on this website are for your enjoyment. Please remember all photographs and material used on this site MAY NOT be copied, in whole or in part, or be duplicated to another computer, transmitted, published, reproduced, printed, hotlinked, etc. without the express written permission of the Lemsford Local History Group. To apply to use an image or article Contact

Article Author Date Read Article
Cochrane family Loss & Grief Shirley Knapp 2014 Read More
David Cochrane 1883 -1917 Shirley Knapp 2014 Read More
James Cochrane 1881 – 1967 Shirley Knapp 2014 Read More
James Cochrane 1898 – 1982 Shirley Knapp 2014 Read More
James Halsey 1875 – 1916 Shirley Knapp 2014 Read More
William & Robert Cochrane Shirley Knapp 2014 Read More

Lemsford Local History Group

The Lemsford Local History Group, formed in 2001, is interested in all aspects of the history and the people of this area - both ancient and modern. We welcome correspondence from anyone who shares this interest.The group archives now include a significant number of photographs and documents, as well as records of baptisms (to 1985), marriages (to 1970), burials (to 2003) and memorial inscriptions (to 2003) from the St John's parish church registers. Records of births, marriages and deaths before the consecration of the church in 1859 will be found in the registers of Bishop's Hatfield parish. The archive also contains admission records for the village school - St. John's Church of England Junior Mixed Infants school - since it was first opened in 1872