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Wednesday 19th January 2022  

Quorn and the Spanish flu epidemic

The worldwide ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic of 1918 hit the UK in waves and it is estimated that about 230,000 people died in Britain. Quorn was struck in the second half of 1918, so whilst villagers were reeling from their men being killed in the war, they were also fighting a deadly battle against Spanish flu.

The disease spread through the population and it is estimated that 10% to 20% of those who contracted it died. Spanish flu could kill devastatingly quickly. Those fit and well at breakfast time could be dead by the end of the day, with others rapidly developing pneumonia. Young people were the worst affected, and this is borne out by an analysis of the burials in Quorn.

Burial records do not state the specific cause of death, but the numbers and anecdotal evidence speak for themselves. Quorn burials in the second half of 1918, rose from a consistent and steady average of twelve deaths per six month period, to a staggering twenty-eight deaths between July and December 1918 – more than twice the number you would expect. Deaths of those over thirty years of age rose by only two, and the rest of the increase was accounted for in the under thirty age group, as illustrated on the chart.

The average age at death went from 46 years old, down to 28 years old. A massive change of 18 years or nearly 40%.

The names of those aged from birth to thirty are listed below in age order.
Just think of poor Elizabeth Bowler who lost three of her four children, and then then in September, received the news that her husband Albert had been killed on the Somme.

Gladys Sharpe, buried 23rd July, aged 20 days
Marjorie May Lovett, buried 26th July, aged 20 days
Alberta Muriel Jones, buried 3rd July, aged 9 weeks
George Leslie North, buried 17th December, aged 9 months
Hilda Ada Fletcher, buried 5th October, aged 11 months
Joseph William Elliott, buried 5th November, aged 15 months
Elsie May Bowler, buried 24th July, aged 2 years
Winnie Bowler, buried 3rd August, aged 3 years
Frank Mee, buried 5th August, aged 3 years
Margaret Annie Pell, buried 5th November, aged 3 years
Reginald Bowler, buried 30th July, aged 7 years
Harold Smithard, buried 31st July, aged 10 years
Sarah Teagle, buried 11th September, aged 24 years
Clara Roberts, buried 24th October, aged 24 years
Rosetta Bagley, buried 29th October, aged 27 years
Harry Lawrence Thompson, buried 4th November, aged 28 years
Ernest Orton, buried 2nd December, aged 28 years
George William Francis Marriott, buried 31st October, aged 30 years

 Submitted on: 2019-07-14
 Submitted by: Sue Templeman
 Artefact ID: 2229

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