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Knighton Foods commemorates employees who died during WW1

Knighton Foods commemorates employees who died during WW1

Knighton Foods held a commemoration ceremony at the site on Friday, November 9 for six former employees who worked at the factory in the early 20th Century before they served across Europe during World War One.

Those who attended the ceremony included Knighton Foods’ Chief Executive Officer Richard Ilsley, Chairman of Adbaston Parish Council Pete Nicholson, four current factory workers who formerly served in the armed forces and a standard bearer from the Royal British Legion. The service was conducted by the Reverend Michael Claridge, Minster of The Cotteridge Church, Birmingham.

As part of the commemoration, Knighton Foods constructed a memorial garden within the grounds of the factory in time for the Great War’s centenary to remember the individuals who worked at the site before the war and the incredible sacrifice they made. Sadly six men died in battle and never returned to their homes and families.

The six men were;

  • - Private TR Hopkins – Served with North Staffs Regiment – Aged 26
  • - Private F Stanford – Served with R.A.M.C – Aged 24
  • - WR Kitchen – Served with North Staffs Regiment – Aged 33
  • - Private F Pritchard – Served with Welsh Battalion – Aged 19
  • - Private S Johnson – Served with Sherwood Foresters
  • - Leading-Seaman H Richardson – Served with Royal Navy – Aged 22

Knighton Foods is a leading UK producer of powdered foods and is one of two trading entities that Premier Foods runs alongside its core grocery business. Premier Foods manufactures some of Britain’s best loved brands including Birds and Angel Delight, which are still manufactured at the Knighton site today. The manufacturing site in Adbaston has a long history of food production. It dates back to 1911 when Cadbury developed a collection point at the site to transport milk by canal from surrounding Staffordshire farms to Bournville in the west Midlands.

As part of developing the memorial garden in honour of the six former factory workers, Knighton Foods teamed up with Adbaston Parish Council and a local resident in the creation of a commemoration booklet - entitled Adbaston Roll of Honour - designed to remember service men who lived in the village and also sadly never returned home.

The booklet details who the villagers were, the regiments they belonged to and when the soldiers are believed to have died. It also contains photographs of the men and acknowledges the six soldiers who worked at the factory. The booklet was distributed to local villagers and given out at church remembrance services.

Knighton Foods’ Chief Executive Officer Richard Ilsley, said: “We were delighted to create this memorial garden in commemoration of those who served and died during World War One and to host the service on Friday.

“Our manufacturing site at Knighton Foods has an extensive history and hundreds of local people will have worked here over the years. As the end of the First World War reached its centenary, it was only right that we took the time to identify and recognise the site’s former employees who made the ultimate sacrifice more than 100 years ago.

“As an employer to people living in the local area, we were also keen to support Adbaston Parish Council in the creation of their booklet commemorating the local villagers who did not return after the war and are delighted that the sites’ former employees could feature as part of this.”

Pete Nicholson, Chairman of Adbaston Parish Council, said: “Commemorating Remembrance Day in Adbaston Parish this year was made all the more special by the opening of a remembrance garden at Knighton Foods. I was pleased to be able to attend the opening and was impressed by the thought given to the design and location of this beautiful garden. Knighton Foods, the Parishes largest employer also contributed to the production of a booklet - “Adbaston Roll Call” - which remembers the 7 soldiers of the 80 enlisted in the Great War from the Parish, who sadly did not return. On behalf of the Parish Council, can I thank Knighton Foods for their contribution in both thought and deed, which have this weekend made the commemoration of Armistice Day so poignant.”