Lathbury is a small village just north of Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire, on the River Ouse. It is also a civil parish in the borough of Milton Keynes.
Our village is probably typical of many rural villages in Buckinghamshire at that time. Almost all the men worked on the land. Many of the wives made and sold lace. The children went to school, sometimes, in Newport Pagnell. Life expectancy was quite low. Health care and housing were often poor. Lathbury had no great family in the area to look after them. They had a rector and his family in the Rectory and the big house, Lathbury Park, had been run as a private school, preparing young men for their entrance exams for the universities, the army or the colonial service.
In 1914 Lathbury probably had a population of about 150, much the same as now, but the spread of ages was very different. In the 1911 census, the closest source of information at the time, there were 57 children under the age of 21, 36 women, 24 men under the age of 40 and 23 men aged 40 or more. During the War, we believe some 35 men joined the forces. The war and its aftermath were to change Lathbury dramatically and life was never the same again.