Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Blackmore Remembers

“Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning: We will remember them.”

This project is a tribute to not only those who died during the conflict but also all those who endured the conflict:
- those men who fought and returned, some with dreadful injuries and memories
- those women who worked on the ‘Home Front’, some in munitions factories, others on the land

11 November 1920: The Cenotaph and The Unknown Warrior

On the morning of 11th November 1920 - the second anniversary of the armistice - the Unknown Warrior was drawn in a procession in London. This was the body of a man killed during the First World War and represented all those who died who had no known grave. The procession paused at the Cenotaph (the war memorial on Whitehall designed by Edwin Lutyens), which was then unveiled by King George V. At 11 o'clock there was a two minutes silence, and the body was then taken to Westminster Abbey where it was buried at the west end of the nave. To the surprise of the organisers, in the week after the burial an estimated 1,250,000 people visited the abbey, and the site is now one of the most visited war graves in the world.

11 November 1919: The First Armistice Day

The annual remembrance of those who died in the War began on Tuesday 11th November 1919. The order for a two minutes’ silence was given by King George V the previous Friday, 7th November. Reeve wrote: “The first Anniversary of the signing of the provisional Armistice and the cessation of hostilities has been commemorated today. The somewhat frantic order was given for the solemn observance of two minutes at 11 o’clock on the 11th day of the 11th month, at which time last year the signatories affixed their names to the important documents. During those two minutes the police were instructed to “hold up” traffic in the streets, the railway-trains everywhere came to a standstill, soldiers in the barracks stood to attention; his Majesty’s ships shut off steam: factories and mines held their breath, and the population generally was invited to “remember in silence the glorious dead”. The signal was given in London by the firing of maroons, and in country places by the chiming of the hour by the Church clock duly regulated to Greenwich time, or by the ceasing of the church bell, tolled for five minutes previously. In Stondon the people watched for the bell’s signal which I myself gave, and the children at School and adults outside joined in giving thanks for the great Victory”.
Armistice Day has been commemorated unbroken since 1919. From 1956 the day observed changed to the second Sunday in November.

11 November 1918: Cessation of Hostilities

Extract from ‘Notes For A Parish History’ (ERO T/P 188/3) written by Revd. E. H. L Reeve of Stondon Massey (Essex).

11th November 1918

The Armistice was signed at 5 o’clock this morning, to take effect from 11 o’clock. The news was known early in London, and was made known by the hooting of sirens and the noise of maroons. Some in Stondon heard the distinct bells at Brentwood. But it was not till the afternoon that definite tidings reached the villages and then it filtered through chiefly the form of private messages. News came to Stondon that flags were being hoisted on the Military Hospital at Ongar, and that the veteran Field-Marshall Sir Evelyn Wood VC had visited the place and communicated the splendid message to the wounded men. As soon as I had this official intelligence the Stondon Church bells were chimed with all the old vigour by Ernest Baines, our sometime sexton. His son, a young fellow of 19 bearing the same name, has recently been wounded in one of the last engagements on the Italian Front and is in Hospital in Italy with injuries (as we at present understand) to both legs.

Distant rockets and other tokens of joy were heard around us as the evening advanced.


We are today where history and current affairs meet.

Welcome to a special edition of Blackmore History News commemorating the end of the First World War. This is the first of two summaries containing recent items of interest. (The second summary will appear on 1 December).


The new website has a number of pages associated with the First World War. These include:
- Great War Gateway (an index of items within the mini site plus themed links to this blog)
- Blackmore Remembers – those from the village who gave their lives
- Blackmore Remembers – those who returned from war
- Stondon Massey Remembers – those named on the War Memorial Tablet
Visit: http://www.blackmorehistory.co.uk/

Items from the ‘Blackmore Area Local History’ area

A book remembering those of Billericay who gave their lives during the First World War has just been released. It is the painstaking work of Mrs Karen Dennis who has looked at government records, newspapers and death certificates to track down the stories behind those on the War Memorial. For more information go to:


To mark 90 years since the Armistice, Rachel Duffett will be giving a talk on the Western Front today at County Hall with a further presentation at the Essex Book Festival in March 2009. Follow link:


Epping Forest Guardian has re-published a poem written by a soldier in World War One. It was unearthed during research into the names of those on the War Memorial at Epping. John Duffell has compiled a record of newspaper articles shedding new light on the period. I do hope that Mr Duffell will publish his work, either on the Internet or in classic booklet form. (James Gosling, born Blackmore, is remembered on this Memorial – see entry 5.11.08).

Other items of interest
Bonfire Night suspended during WW1
Read more here:

History magazines: November 2008
BBC History magazine (which should be purchased for the striking cover alone!) includes a special supplement linked to the ninetieth anniversary of the Armistice with particular emphasis on the final days of the First World War. Follow this link for more … http://www.bbchistorymagazine.com/Default.asp?bhcp=1
BBC Who Do You Think You Are? magazine also covers the Armistice and celebrity stories of their ancestors taken from the BBC series ‘My Family At War’. There is also a supplementary pocket book entitled ‘Trace Your First World War Ancestors’ written by Martin Purdy. This gives the family historian all the background information he or she needs to know in order to do their own WDYTYA research. Follow this link for more … http://www.bbcwhodoyouthinkyouare.com/
Family History Monthly (December 2008), again covers “the day peace broke out” but provides advice to genealogists guide to searching for their World War One soldiers on the Internet. It’s banner “90 Years of Peace” is, alas, misleading.

Sidney Lucas
One of five remaining war veterans, Sidney Lucas, died on 6 November.

Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen, war poet, was killed on 4th November 1918. Amid the celebrations for the Armistice, at noon his mother received a telegram telling of his death. His poetry is dark, vivid, stark and somewhat disturbing. Links to other sites are given below.
War Poems
‘Anthem for doomed youth’ has reference to ‘sad shires’ and ‘bugles’.
‘Dulce et decorum est’ is perhaps his greatest poem.


Later we commemorate the events of 11 November 1918, 1919 and 1920 but it was on 11 November 1921 that the first official Poppy Day was held, organised by the British Legion. The symbol was inspired by the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ written by John McCrae. Follow this link to the poem:

Western Front Association
The Western Front Association, Essex branch, was present at the recent Essex Record Office conference ‘Sad Shires and Bugles’. The group hold two monthly meetings, one at Hornchurch the other at Hatfield Peverel. I asked whether their interest was confined to the Western Front. He representative answered to the negative. Other campaigns such as the Dardenelles were also covered. Formore information follow this link:

From News Statesman
“Amid the war graves of Belgium, Tom Farrell finds a family story tangled up with the birth of modern Ireland”: ‘Side by Side They Fell’.

How We Remember The Great War Today

Contributions and reflections from across the net:
Dan Todman, senior lecturer at Queen Mary College, London.

Daily Mail article that mingles the current Remembrance with extracts of Richard Emdon’s new book, ‘The Soldier’s War’. Essex interest is contained in this article with reference to Brentwood and Southend.

Coverage of Cenotaph proceedings at Whitehall on 9 November 2008. The writer noted a noticeable increase in numbers attending.

Blogspot break

After this significant date in history, blackmoreblogspot will be taking a break. We will be back on 1 December.

Links: Researching the First World War

If you wish to explore the subject of the ‘First World War’ further, the following links to websites are recommended.

Great War Archive, published by Oxford University
“The aim of this initiative was to collect together material related to the First World War held by members of the public to help keep the memory alive of the sacrifices made during World War One. The final collection will be made available free of charge via the Web on the 11th November 2008, the 90th anniversary of the Armistice.”

Have I missed anything? Please E mail so that I can update this page and share it with all our readers.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission was established to commemorate those who fell in the Great War. Their database is available online.

‘Hut six’ is an impressive ‘search engine’ for entries on the CWGC site.

‘Soldiers who died in the Great War’:
In 1921 His Majesty's Stationery Office published, on behalf of and by authority of the War Office, two lists of those who died during the First World War. More than 703,000 names are included in this database.

Researching a soldier in the British Army in the First World War? Go to 1914-1918
This is a page from the site, ‘The Long Long Trail’: http://www.1914-1918.net/

Channel 4’s 2006 landmark TV series ‘Not Forgotten’ launched a website called ‘Lost Generation’: http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/L/lostgeneration/

In terms of more general sites, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.co.uk/) contains many records of servicemen. During November 2008 it is allowing free access to all World War One records – but be warned, many records no longer exist.

BBC. New site commemorating the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War
Website which commemorated the 80th anniversary of the end of WW1

Great War


… and finally a Wiki question
How did the Great War affect Essex? Discuss!http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_did_the_great_war_affect_essex

Book Review: The Greatest Day In History

This is not a local history book. It covers succinctly, though with an eye for detail, the final days of the First World War through events on the battlefields of the Western Front and the diplomatic efforts to secure an Armistice.

Nicholas Best subtitles the book, ‘How the Great War really ended’.

The Armistice itself was signed at just after 5.00am. On the 11th day of the 11th month we learn that at Mons the fighting continued after the Armistice had been signed. That previous evening the Canadians had recaptured the land which the Allies had fled in August 1914. The view of the commanders was to gain more ground than was lost initially. Men were killed in the final hour before 11am. “The Western Front saw something like 10,944 casualties on 11 November, including 2,738 dead. It was almost as many as D-Day”.

“The Armistice terms were outrageous”, Best tells us. Throughout the book there is the ominous foreboding that this would not be the war to end all wars.

‘The Greatest Day in History’ by Nicholas Best (Phoenix, 2008) is available in paperback.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Ninety Years On. Remembering the First World War (20)

Extract from ‘Notes For A Parish History’ (ERO T/P 188/3) written by Revd. E. H. L Reeve of Stondon Massey (Essex).

10th November 1918

At the historic banquet at the Guildhall last evening Mr Lloyd George was able to allude to an armistice with Germany as imminent, but news of it has not been received.

The historic banquet referred to was the Lord Mayor's Banquet, a feast held to honour the outgoing Mayor. The procession and the feast itself has continued regardless of war and other events for many centuries. In 1918 the Prime Minister "would have loved to have announced it [the Armistice] in the Guildhall, to thunderous applause from all sides, but there was still no word from Compiegne" [Best, 2008, p125].

The final part of Reeve's manuscript may be read at 10.30am on 11.11.08.

Best, Nicholas. The Greatest Day in History (Phoenix, 2008)

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Blackmore: Remembrance Sunday 2008

Pictures taken at the War Memorial and the Parade Service at St Laurence Church, Blackmore.

A large crowd gathered at Blackmore War Memorial at 10.50am today for a short service, to lay wreaths and to observe the traditional two minutes silence. Members of the Fullwell Brass Band accompanied the singing of 'O God, our help in ages past'. Prayers were said by the Vicar of Blackmore, Revd. Canon Ivy Crawford, and Baptist Church minister, Revd. Neil Blake.

At the Parade Service which followed in the Parish Church, the theme of peace-makers was interspersed with the remembrance of the end of the First World War ninety years ago. At the conclusion nine red balloons were released in the churchyard to represent the nine decades since the Armistice. A cross of poppies was laid at the grave of Ted Sutton, the only WW1 Commonwealth War Grave in the churchyard. Poppies were also placed at the graves of other men who died of their injuries following the First World War as well as Joy Woollard, who died during World War Two.

Blackmore Remembers

Remembrance Sunday
Service at the War Memorial
(photo 2007)

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Personal Reflections on the Great War

The three-month commemoration of the Great War on this site has taken longer to research and compile. It has additionally been something of a personal journey. As the series draws to a close I thought that I would share some personal reflections on the First World War.

Anyone who attends a quiz night will know that one of the most frequently asked history questions surrounds the event that sparked the Great War: the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife at Sarajevo, in Bosnia, on 28 June 1914. A diplomatic incident ensued: Austria declared war on Serbia; Russia mobilized; Germany declared war on Russia; Germany declared war on France, invading Belgium in an attempt to knock out France; Britain declared war on Germany, because she had broken a guarantee made in 1839 to respect Belgian neutrality.

The event was the straw that broke the camel’s back. British politicians, over the previous twenty years, had become increasingly concerned about Germany’s rising commercial and maritime activity. Britain had been rearming. Like other nations Britain went to war “for honour” which seems madness now – but these were different times.

The war which the parties engaged was to be long and drawn out: bogged down, quite literally in the trenches of the Western Front. It ended relatively quickly when the Germans realised huge losses and sought an armistice. One commentator suggests that the enemy suffered more from the effects of Spanish ‘flu which hastened the end of the stalemate. But was the Armistice, in effect, a ceasefire only to recommence in 1939? Conversations gathered by Revd. Reeve of Stondon Massey record a very appropriate sound-byte that the war which seemed “a draw” in 1917, according to sportsman Capt. Fred Fane then the hope of an invalid at Blake Hall (recorded as late as 10th September 1918) that the Americans would bring the war to a close by 1920.

At the outset, was there fervour of patriotism that led men to sign up for ‘King and Country’? When Albert enlisted on 7th February 1916 he was one month short of his seventeenth birthday. That same day Revd. Reeve records:

“Feb. 10th has been appointed as the day on which the new Military Service Act will come into operation and on March 1st all but those specially exempted between the ages of 18 and 41 years will be held to have been enrolled.” [ERO T/P 188/3]

Albert knew that sooner or later he would be called up, but not until after March 1917, the month of his own eighteen birthday. Whether his friends were enlisting and he decided to go along too can only be surmised. But he must have lied convincingly about his age on enrolment.

What seems clear is that men enlisted because they did not want to miss out on this great adventure: to go abroad was exciting. There was also an expectation of serving Britain because individuals formed part of an imperialistic British Empire. “Rule Britannia”! This is not to criticise but to observe that these were different times to our own.

There are countless examples of young men enlisting early. William Roberts enlisted probably to avenge for the killing of his father, and ‘Smiler’ having admitted to being aged 17, returns to the recruiting office to give a year of birth as 1896 implying that he was already eighteen years of age.

Perhaps in common with other civilian volunteers Albert received six months’ training before being sent to the Front. By August 1916 the allies were engaged in the Somme offensive. As a Gunner, Albert would have formed part of a team of six. It was noisy work. Both Revd. Reeve (of Stondon Massey) and Revd. Andrew Clark (of Great Leighs) record in their diaries at their respective homes the noise of gunfire heard on that first day.

“1st July 1916

“As I write, the reverberation of the great guns and explosion of mines are shaking the windows of the Rectory and of all the other houses, I suppose, in the southern and south-eastern counties of England. There is evidently a very heavy bombardment in progress. The munition-making of many months is beginning, we may hope, to have its effect upon the position.”

Harry Patch is Britain’s last surviving Tommy. At the age of 108 he wrote an autobiographical account of his survival in the Trenches at Passendaele (1917). He speaks of shell shock: “a nervous soldier was as much danger to the rest as he was to himself” [Patch, p73]. In May 1917 Albert was discharged with shell shock, returning later in the War only to be taken prisoner.

Very few who served spoke about their war experiences. Information relating to Albert has only recently come to light through research.

William Dawes (my great uncle) was killed in Gallipoli. The fact that he is remembered some fourteen years later on his brother’s grave in his native North Weald is indicative of the memory held of him by his family. During the course of research I have found other examples: William Scudder of Blackmore is another. Jacob Wiltshire, also of Blackmore, has a headstone bearing reference to his brother who died some years before, lying next to him in an unmarked grave.

War Memorials are also the symbols and epitaphs to men who are buried in a foreign field, that place the poet says is ‘Forever England’.

In ‘Last Post’, subtitled ‘the final word from our First World War soldiers’, the auto-biographers recall a common theme of fellow men being blown up or fatally wounded by shell-fire, hit by snipers bullets etc. It makes graphic reading, detached from those events, yet alone to experience first-hand the hell of trench warfare and the unsaid words that it could have been them. Life and death seemed a random event. With millions of men going through the same experience it is small wonder that no one spoke about these events. Perhaps these were events best to erase from memory if possible and not to talk about over Sunday tea with the family.

In my work over recent months I tried to detach the battlefield events of the Western Front from the local happenings at home in Essex, but it is impossible. “Only those who were there can tell what really happened. Tell of the suffering and misery” (Cecil Withers)[Arthur, p88].

A few years ago I used to be indifferent to the remembrance of those who served two generations before me. Whether that is because no one spoke of the events and the importance of remembrance, I do not know. Indifference probably changes with age, an interest in family history perhaps and a reappraisal on television of the events of World War One. ‘Not Forgotten’ was a landmark Channel 4 television series presented about the First World War by Ian Hislop, and was Sunday teatime viewing. Quite rightly, it is difficult now to avoid the commemoration on television. If we fail to remember we also fail to learn. I believe that history does repeat itself: only many think it does not.

The other recurrent theme in the book ‘Last Post’ is the futility of war: “getting nowhere”, reference to the progress of trench warfare (Albert ‘Smiler’ Marshall)[Arthur, p35]; “we fought because we were told to” (Harry Patch)[Arthur, p136]; “it was such a complete waste of lives” (George Charles)[Arthur, p191]; “for all the suffering and death I saw in the trenches, I never lost my faith. I still pray and I believe” (Cecil Withers)[Arthur, p87]. Some held a belief in God whilst others did not.

When we pause and think we realise that there was not a single person during that time who had not lost a family member, neighbour or friend. When you learn that one in five men who served from Blackmore died (or “made the supreme sacrifice”) you realise the huge loss of life which both allies and foe suffered.

In our modern age the closest we can perhaps come to understand the nation’s sense of loss was the feelings surrounding that week in 1997 when Diana, Princess of Wales, was tragically killed in a car crash. Prior to the funeral the nation seemed in shock and collective mourning. Human vulnerability, deep sadness, sometimes anger, but an overriding need to remember a life with gratitude. We might live in a different time but human suffering is timeless.

The experience of English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, who lied about his age to become a stretcher bearer (he was too old, RVW said he was 39 when in fact he was 41), is depicted musically in his ‘Pastoral Symphony’. Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto is a more stiff-upper-lipped regret about a lost age. The Pastoral Symphony though is RVW’s ‘War Requiem’.

All this oral and musical history provides a vital link with the past. It’s a past that we hope never to return to, but it must serve as a reminder.

‘In the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them’.


Arthur, Max. Last Post. The Final Word from our First World War Soldiers (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 2005)
Patch, Harry, with Emden, Richard. The Last Fighting Tommy (Bloombury, 2008)
Reeve, Rev. EHL. Chronicler of the Great War (published by Andrew Smith, 2008)

North Weald: Remembering ... William J. Dawes

William John Dawes, Lance Corporal, 1st Essex Regiment was my great-uncle. He served in the ‘failed’ eight month campaign in Gallipoli which was fought by Commonwealth and French forces in an attempt to force Turkey out of the war. Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery was created after the Armistice when graves were brought in from isolated sites and small burial grounds on the battlefields of April to August and December 1915. There are now 3,360 First World War servicemen buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 2,226 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate many casualties known or believed to be buried among them, including 142 officers and men of the 1st Essex who died on 6th August 1915. My great-uncle was one of those who fell on that day.

He is commemorated on the War Memorial at North Weald and is also remembered by his family on the grave of his brother, Henry, who died in 1929 and was buried in the village churchyard.

The ‘Commonwealth War Graves Commission’, who records his name as J. W. Dawes, includes the following citation:

Friday, 7 November 2008

Ninety Years On. Remembering the First World War (19)

Extract from ‘Notes For A Parish History’ (ERO T/P 188/3) written by Revd. E. H. L Reeve of Stondon Massey (Essex).

7th November 1918

On Sunday last special reference was made to our victories, and to the paramount importance of thanksgiving. This should become still more and more pronounced as the final Peace draws nearer.

Next entry: 10th November 1918

New Book: Blackmore Remembers

Drawing on material used in this on-line project, 'Blackmore Remembers' commemorates ninety years since the end of the First World War. Available price £1.50 from the Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore. Available through this site, but including P&P. E mail for more information.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Ninety Years On. Remembering the First World War (18)

Extract from ‘Notes For A Parish History’ (ERO T/P 188/3) written by Revd. E. H. L Reeve of Stondon Massey (Essex).

6th November 1918

Events of the greatest importance are daily taking place. The terms of the armistice have been fully agreed upon by all the Allies at their Council at Versailles. President Wilson is always insisting that the terms of Peace must be so framed at last as to secure a lasting basis, and not by their vindictiveness to cause a sense of injustice and so sow the seeds of future animosities and wars.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Blackmore: Remembering ... William White

Private William Willis White (son of Arthur William & Rose Ellis White of Fingrith Hall Road, and brother of George) served in the Leicestershire Regiment and was killed on 5th November 1918, aged 26. He is buried in Downham Churchyard (see photograph).

His name is not commemorated at Blackmore

The ‘Commonwealth War Graves Commission’ includes the following citation:

Blackmore: Remembering ... James Gosling

Private James Gosling was born in Blackmore Essex. He enlisted at Romford and died at home on 5th November 1916. He formerly served in the Essex Regiment then Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion”. He is buried at Felixtowe according to the ‘Commonwealth War Graves Commission’ (http://www.cwgc.org/search/certificate.aspx?casualty=397156).
Unfortunately cwgc does not give his parents or family address.
His name is recorded in, http://www.peterjoslin.btinternet.co.uk/GoslingWarDead.htm and http://www.military-genealogy.com/productHome?product=ww1.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Ninety Years On. Remembering the First World War (17)

Extract from ‘Notes For A Parish History’ written by Revd. E. H. L Reeve of Stondon Massey (Essex).

4th November 1918

Every day brings news of fresh victories for the Allies.

Next entry: 6th November 1918

Monday, 3 November 2008

Stondon Massey: Remembering ... others who served

Revd Reeve recalled the following men who served in the Great War:

Corporal John White became a prisoner of war. “He returned home in January 1919, his kindly farm friends from Germany sending him off with a present of bacon for his needs!”

Fred Bennett was badly wounded and invalided home from France.

Mr John Pryor (Captain) left Stondon after the War “to be nearer his business in London” owing to injuries sustained in battle.

Three brothers, William, Walter and William (junior) Cook, all served as lifeguards and “came safely through the War”.

William Ellis, was wounded at St Julieu (31st July 1917) but “now convalescent has returned to civil employment”.

William Penson, a man often mentioned by Reeve, came through the War and “returned to work at the Rectory [as gardener] Feb 24th 1919”.

Other names noted by Reeve were Ernest Baines, Ernest Baines (junior), Arthur Bolt, George Brown, Albert Chantry, Leonard James Drake, Cyril Gandy, Harry Lodge, Arthur Roast, Percy Roast (known as ‘Jack’ and nephew of Arthur), Thomas Roast (living at Blackmore), Sergeant George Sankey, Alec Shuttleworth, William Skinner, George Turner, Arthur H Watts, Algernon Chichester White, Maurice Bazely White and, John Tyndale White.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

War Memorials Locally

John Westwood has created an impressive site commemorating those from Stock and the surrounding area who gave their lives in World War One. He is a regular writer in ‘The Journal’, a free monthly magazine delivered to homes in the CM4 postal district.




Ingatestone & Fryerning



Shenfield Railway Station



Elsewhere in our local area, other photographers and researchers have been out and about.
Ongar & District
The memorial is inside the hospital

Extensively covered on this site

On this site



On this site


Good Easter

Great Parndon (Harlow)

Does not have a parish war memorial.

High Ongar

Kelvedon Hatch




North Weald
On this site

Norton Mandeville
No known War Memorial

Potter Street (Harlow)

Stapleford Tawney

Stondon Massey
Extensively covered on this site

Theydon Garnon
On this site

Not listed?
Elsewhere in Essex try:

Paul Rusiecki's book 'The Impact of Catastophe' (ERO Publication, Essex County Council, 2008) contains a most substantial, if incomplete, list of 'Essex memorials of the Great War'.

New Book: Stondon Massey Remembers

Drawing on material used in this on-line project, 'Stondon Massey Remembers' commemorates ninety years since the end of the First World War. Available price £1.50 from St Peter & St Paul Church, Stondon Massey and the Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore. Available through this site, but including P&P. E mail for more information.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Ninety Years On. Remembering the First World War (16)

Extract from ‘Notes For A Parish History’ (ERO T/P 188/3) written by Revd. E. H. L Reeve of Stondon Massey (Essex).

1st November 1918

Turkey has capitulated.

Two Hungarians are at Stondon Hall, as lodgers, employed on the farm. They and other prisoners must be beginning to realize the position of the Central Powers.

Next entry: 4th November 1918

Book Preview: The Impact of Catastrophe

Today, at the excellent one-day conference entitled 'Sad Shires and Bugles', the Essex Record Office launched its new publication with author Paul Rusiecki giving a talk and signing his work over lunch.

'The Impact of Catastrophe' subtitled 'The people of Essex and the First World War (1914 - 1920)' fills a gap in hitherto published work.

"It shows, with copious references to contemporary material [Revd Reeve of Stondon Massey included], how the shadow of the Great War fell upon every aspect of life in the county. Dr Paul Rusiecki brings to life the experiences of those Essex people who sought to 'keep the home fires burning' in the face of shortages, blackouts and air raids [locally the Zeppelin raid of 31 March 1916]. He also traces the growth of the movement to commemorate those citizens of Essex who fought and died for their country in the 'war to end all wars'".

This looks to be a tremendous book. Soft cover, 464 pages.

"For more information, or to order, e mail: ero.enquiry@essexcc.gov.uk. Tel: 01245 244644."


Welcome to this month’s round-up of local history and heritage in and around Blackmore, Essex.

Blackmore History website goes live

Today marks the official launch of the website http://www.blackmorehistory.co.uk . On the site you will find:
- a transcript of the 1910 Electoral Roll for Blackmore
- an index of family names associated with Blackmore
- a page dedicated to those who gave their lives in the First World War
- some notes about Blackmore’s Parish registers
- a house history of ‘Jericho Priory’
The site is linked to this blog. Do please take a look and pass on your comments.

Somewhere to go at Fryerning Church

Fryerning Church has installed a new toilet facility by creating an extension through the north doorway. Pictures of progress can be seen by clicking on the following link.

Moving graves at St Martin’s Church Ongar

A proposal has been made to create a green space in the area around St Martin’s Church, Chipping Ongar. This will entail the moving of gravestones over 150 years old. Read Keldon for more information:

Great War commemoration: local events

At the Keene Hall, Galleywood, the local historical society is putting on an exhibition, ‘The Great War – Galleywood and Beyond’ on 8 November 2008 from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Follow this link for information.

Not to be outdone either in the neighbouring parish, the Stock and Buttsbury Heritage Society is holding an exhibition commemorating those who went to war from their villages. The event will be held at Stock Village Hall, Saturday 8 November, 10.30am to 5.00pm and Sunday 9 November from 11.15am (after the Service at the War Memorial) to 5.00pm.

Finally, on Remembrance Sunday itself, the Priory Church of St Laurence Blackmore will be open following the Parade Service through to 3.30pm. As well as enjoying the quiet of this lovely building there will be an opportunity to learn more about those from Blackmore and Stondon Massey who served in the First World War. The small ‘exhibition table’ will draw on material used in the creation of this project. Learn about those who served, air raids, rationing and votes for women.

Two books will also be released this month: ‘Blackmore Remembers’ and ‘Stondon Massey Remembers’. Both are subtitled “A collection of notes about the First World War and of those who gave their lives”. These limited edition booklets are priced £1.50 each and sold in aid of local church funds.

Great War commemoration: other news

Over the next few days there will be a surge in items published on the Internet and elsewhere about the First World War. On 11 November Blackmore Area Local History will be presenting a round-up of local happenings.

Links list

The following links are recommended, although I cannot be responsible for their content.

Blackmore Area Local History
More information can be found on the sister site. (I am responsible for the content of this site!).

Blackmore Village website.
Very popular community website contains local and family history information.
Now with over 10000 hits

Priory Church of St Laurence
Link to Parish Church (Church of England) website - Home page
History page
Friends of St Laurence, Blackmore
The web-page of the support group

Other sites
History House (includes a link to this blog), written by Keldon.

Photos, maps and memories from the Francis Frith collection


Bessie Blount

Villages nearby covered by BALH
Buckhurst Hill

Epping Forest District

Mill Green Windmill


Index of village history

Stondon Massey


History News Across Essex
This blog will try to cover everything about the heritage of the Blackmore Area. For coverage across the whole of Essex, the following link is recommended.

Historical Societies and Groups in Essex
Blackmore does not have a local history group but, to use a cliché, others are available.

Brentwood & District Historical Society

The Essex Congress lists a number of historical, heritage and civic groups and societies on its website. Follow the link.
Local History and Archaeological Societies in Essex
Essex Congress – home page

Essex Society for Archaeology and History - home page

The Foxearth and District Local History Society. A village in the north of Essex with an incredible website.
It includes a listing of “museums, stately homes and various other places to visit in East Anglia that would be of interest to anyone interested in History or Archaeology”.
Also ‘Links’ to other websites

Local History Workshop

Places to Visit

Copped Hall, Epping

Epping Forest District Museum, Waltham Abbey

Ingatestone Hall

North Weald Airfield Museum

Churches in Essex

This website, with many photos, is a real labour of love by its author, John Whitworth.
For the Blackmore page, follow this link. “Carlsberg don't make timber church towers ...but if they did ... they'd be the best timber church towers in the world!”

Lost Churches in Essex
Andrew Barham’s book includes nearby Berners Roding.

Brentwood Cathedral
This is featured on a blog profiling architects Quinlan and Francis Terry

Essex Record Office

The starting point for on-line research. Find out what amazing documents are available at Chelmsford.

Victoria County History
Ongar Hundred
Victoria County History Volume IV. Ongar Hundred, published in 1956. Reproduced on British History Online
In case you are wondering, the history of Chelmsford Hundred has not been published by VCH yet. It is an ongoing project. Work is concentrating at present on the seaside towns in the Tendring area.