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War memorials are a familiar sight in towns and villages across Britain, somberly remembering the sacrifices made by millions of ordinary young men in the First World War. But there are a handful of villages where, until recently, there were no war memorials. Do not be mistaken for these villages did their part in the war, sending their men to fight for their country shoulder to shoulder with others from every other village in the land. But by some extraordinary strokes of good fortune, none of these villages suffered a single casualty. All the men that went off to war from these villages returned back alive to their homes. This was such a statistical improbability that out of 16,000, there only 53 such villages in all of Britain. These villages are called Thankful Villages.

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Wigsley's 'Thankful Village' plaque presented to the people of Wigsley by Medwyn Parry and Dougie Bancroft in 2013. Photo credit: Richard Croft

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