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All the men from Woolley returned home from WW1

With so many casualties it seems unthinkable that some villages in our region saw ALL of their soldiers return from the fighting. In the west there are 9 of these 'Thankful Villages' as they're known - 7 in Somerset and 2 in Gloucestershire - on top of these there are also 3 'Doubly Thankful Villages' where all of their soldiers also returned alive from fighting in the Second World War. One of these is the village of Woolley near Bath where villagers gathered this morning to pay their respects.

Woolley is a doubly thankful village Credit: ITV News West Country

When life was at stake in the lottery of war, then chance favoured the village of Woolley. Few other places in England saw all its men return alive - twice. And today a ceremony marked that.

With no war dead, there is no war memorial here. But the war memories of the survivors haunted them for the rest of their lives.

"When the men came back from the First World War they had to return to the farm work that they'd left when they went off. They were very frightened, they were very nervous and they didn't wish to explain what had happened to them in the war. But I know many of them had injuries that left scars for many years afterwards."

– Margaret Foster, Villager

Nothing could prepare any man for the bloodshed and brutality of the trenches. But the men who went there from Woolley were young men, farmers, men with little experience with life beyond this hamlet near Bath. 13 men went out from here 13 men returned. And 20 years later 13 more people served from Woolley in the Second World War and all 13 returned again.

Lee Asquith-Coe chose to stay in Woolley for it's luck Credit: ITV News West Country

Lee Asquith-Coe moved here just three years ago. As a former military man he was amazed to find his new village - or anywhere - had this rare status of what is called Doubly Thankful.

For such a small hamlet as Woolley to give 13 of their sons and fathers to both wars and for those people to come back was just incredible. I felt lucky and privileged and that's what made me want to stay.

– Lee Asquith-Coe
After 100 years Woolley finally has a Memorial stone Credit: ITV News West Country

After 100 years Woolley finally has a Memorial stone. A stone expressing thanks that their men returned alive. Men that were changed forever from their time in the trenches.

Watch our reporter Robert Murphy's report on this below:

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