Over the last 100-plus years, Oswestry has been associated with one or two local heroes/celebrities.

Born in Oswestry was the most important poet of World War I. This was of course Wilfred Owen who, while on military service, was killed just weeks before hostilities ceased on the Western Front in 1918.

Another local hero was John Brunt who once lived at Whittington, attended school at Welsh Frankton and later at Ellesmere College. He gave outstanding military service during World War II, gaining the Military Cross for outstanding bravery. Unfortunately, he lost his life during the Italian Campaign. However, he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross on February 8, 1945 for his selfless courage. When I read stories about him, in my opinion he acted gallantly well above the call of duty with scant regard for his own safety in saving the lives of his own comrades.

When Captain Brunt was killed, it appears he was not in action against the enemy. The day after his last battle in which he had survived against all odds, it was his day to die, in my opinion, in a vaguely uncanny way. On the day after his final contact with the enemy, he was peacefully sipping a mug of tea at his platoon command post. A stray German shell landed beside him and the explosion killed him. The enemy shell was reported to be the first and the last to land in that area that morning!

On a more melodious note, a Henry Walford Davies was born in 1869 on September 6 at the family home in Willow Street. He was the seventh child to be born into the family. He loved music and when he had reached 12 years of age, he had realised a place as a chorister at St George’s Chapel at Windsor. As time went on his musical talents expanded to the violin and piano, resulting with him becoming an organist at Christ Church, Hampstead.

By 1898 he was an organist and director of the choir at Temple Church which continued until 1919. While he was there, he created a work for the Three Choirs Festival when Sir Edward Elgar had recommended him to the Worcester Festival Committee. Henry Walford Davies was also responsible for the composing of the official RAF March Past.

In 1916, he also entertained the soldiers in France with his musical talents. In 1919, this musician originating from Willow Street, Oswestry became Professor of Music at University College, Aberystwyth. Three years later he was to create the Welsh Symphony Orchestra based at Gregynog Hall, Newtown. This was also the year he was knighted. His other achievements included working for the BBC broadcasting music lessons to school children and adults alike. His final tribute was to succeed Sir Edward Elgar as Master of the King’s Musick.

Close to Oswestry at Ellesmere was born yet another famous person in 1876 at a house called The Lyth. This was Eglantyne Jebb who is acknowledged as the founder of the Save the Children Fund. She was of an academic nature and funded by her aunt she went to attend Oxford University in 1895 to enhance her knowledge of history.

While studying at the university, she acquired a friendship with the young widow of Arnold Toynbee. He had been responsible for the creation of the University Settlement in the East End of London. Mrs Toynbee showed Eglantyne the deprived areas of the docklands in London and also one of the National Schools that was situated there. At this school, there were no less than 60 children in one class.

Eglantyne Jebb then was to become a student at the Stockwell Teacher Training College. Her mother was for some reason or other not too enthusiastic about this. Although Eglantyne was very knowledgeable, she was it seems not “cut out” with management skills etc concerning discipline when in charge of large classes. She tried teaching children again at another school at Marlborough but unfortunately was unsuccessful at this particular vocation again.

Eglantyne was to become ill in 1901 with an enlarged thyroid gland. Her mother by this time had moved to live in Cambridge on leaving The Lyth in Ellesmere. Her daughter then went to live with her for a while for her recuperation. Eglantyne then became occupied with various events in Cambridge and joining the Cambridge Charity Organisation. She then published a book referring to aiding crippled children etc.

It was 1907 when Eglantyne’s mother was taken seriously ill. They both then moved to Switzerland coming back to England just as the Balkans conflict was beginning. In 1913, Eglantyne Jebb then went out to the Balkans herself to help with the Macedonian Relief Fund. Shortly after that the Save the Children Fund was established and the lady originally from Ellesmere had played a very important part in its creation.

Eglantyne Jebb in 1928 was suffering from ill health. She had to undergo three operations in Geneva but unfortunately died soon afterwards aged 52 and was buried at St George’s Cemetery in Geneva.

One television celebrity born at Stoke-on-Trent in 1933 had a very strong association with Oswestry. The family of the young Frank Bough moved to Oswestry shortly after due to his father whose main trade of being an upholsterer found himself out of work.

When attending Oswestry Boy’s High School, the future television presenter displayed great aptitude as regards sport and drama. On leaving the school at Oswestry he passed an entrance exam which enabled him to enter Merton College, Oxford. While there he obtained a soccer blue – representing Oxford playing centre half in the yearly fixture which was at Wembley against Cambridge.

When Frank Bough departed from Oxford, it was with a degree in history and his first job was with ICI at Billingham-on-Tees in the north east. When he signed up for National Service in 1955 he joined the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment in Munster.

Frank eventually married Nesta Howells, a physiotherapist he met at Park Hall Camp.

When Frank Bough left the army, he went to work at ICI at Billingham. He was not settled with his job, he really desired to be in the broadcasting profession. After contacting various people including football commentator Gerald Sinstadt, Frank’s first audition was commenting on a football match at Darlington. He was handicapped due to the fog that day when there was only 20 yards vision! However, this did not deter Frank, and through determination got the job as a sports commentator. He went on to present on the BBC, Sportsview then Grandstand in 1968. Four years later he was television presenter for Nationwide. In 1977, Frank Bough was honoured with the David Dimbleby award for his excellent contribution to factual television. By 1983 he was a presenter on the then fledgling Breakfast Time TV show. (He was then known for his taste in woolly pullovers!). The rest is history, as they say.

One person who was once the Rector of Whittington in 1800s was the Rev William Walsham How, who was later to become the first Bishop of Wakefield. This gentleman wrote no less than 60 hymns of which many are still used today. Born at College Hill, Shrewsbury in 1823, he died in 1897 on a fishing vacation. He had spent 28 years of his life at Whittington near Oswestry and this was where he was buried.