Friday, 6 November 2009

Blackmore: War Memorial

Received
25 August 2009

Dear Andrew
Found your site very interesting. Many thanks!

We recently visited the Gunpowder Mills in Waltham Abbey and came across lots of WW1 information. It made me think about our War Memorial in Blackmore as I often see some of the gravestones at the church, which records a few of the deaths, whilst walking the dog, e.g. Pte. Sutton etc. So I started to compile my spreadsheet but could not really read all the names on the Roll of Honour. Thanks to you I have their names and a lot more.

Before I had discovered your site I had done some research and have submitted an article for the Parish [Council] Magazine, [The Herald].

Therefore I am sending it to you to see if it is correct?

I would like to plot where those who were living in Blackmore and also see if it is possible to find any pictures?

Roger thinks he is related to the Suttons so there could be a possibility

Question
Have you gone to Kew to look at the soldiers’ war records?
Did Ellis enrol in another name?
Why was Larke not included if the family still lived in the village?
Why does your list have so many other names, have you used the local paper to discover them?

Regards

Diana Bateman


Replied
29 August 2009

Hello Diana

Thanks for your E mail. You may be interested to know that I published information on the Great War – to commemorate the 90th anniversary of cessation of hostilities - on http://www.blackmorehistory.blogspot.com last year (there is a link from http://www.blackmorehistory.co.uk on the Great War Gateway page: http://www.blackmorehistory.co.uk/blackmoreww1gateway.html ) and produced a booklet entitled 'Blackmore Remembers' which is on sale, price £1.50, at the Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore. You may wish to compare your notes to mine. The ‘blog’ has a search box so you will be able to access fairly quickly the names I have recorded.

I have not been to the National Archives at Kew to check any war records. A lot of information is available online I understand so sites like http://www.ancestry.co.uk might be a first port of call. My research was confined to recording a transcript of all the names on the Parish War Memorial on The Green; the memorial window in the vestry of the Church; using what information was previously readily available and; a thorough search of the ‘commonwealth war graves commission website’, http://www.cwgc.gov.uk. I did not read through local newspapers: the Essex Chronicle and Essex Weekly News are available to view on microfilm at Chelmsford Library. The Brentwood Gazette was first published after the First World War.

You will find, if you have not already, that tracing information is not quite as simple as the ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ programme might lead you to believe. But attempting to solve these puzzles is challenging, absorbing and rewarding. Separately I have tried to trace my grandfather’s service: his service record is missing but we get glimpses into his First World War service, for example, shell shock and being taken prisoner of war. We have no photographs of him at the time – I suspect these would be rare survivals of a period these men would rather forget (read Harry Patch’s autobiography) – but have the odd postcard.

I have Ernest Martin’s photograph and a copy of Gerald Piggot’s photograph published after his death from the Essex Chronicle.

Since last November – when I closed my research - the 1911 census has become available online: http://www.1911census.co.uk. It is possible to purchase credits to view household transcripts and original census documents.

I do not know whether Alfred Ellis enrolled under another name. All I had was reference that he died during the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign in June 1915. He is commemorated on the church window but not the war memorial which made tracing more information difficult. Having compared the new 1911 census with the cwgc site I found that an Essex regiment man by the name of Alfred George Ellis died on 28 June 1915 in Gallipoli aged 24 (http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=695719). His parents were Walter and Emma Ellis of Hornchurch, and he himself was married. Typing Arthur Ellis, Walter Ellis and Emma Ellis separately with the parish of Blackmore onto the home page of the 1911 census we find all three names revealed. It was worth spending 10 credits to establish the household. This reads:

Walter Ellis. Head. Married. M. 54. Farm Labourer. Born Stondon, Essex.
Emma Ellis. Wife. F. 43. Born Havering, Essex
Harry Ellis. Son. Single. M. 21. Bricklayer Labourer. Born Blackmore
Alfred Ellis. Son. Single. M. 18. Bricklayer Labourer. Born Blackmore
Walter Ellis. Son. Single. M. 15. Stable Lad. Born Blackmore
Eliza Ellis. Daughter. F. 13. Home. Born Blackmore
Louisa Ellis. Daughter. F. 12. School. Born Blackmore
William Ellis. Son. M. 10. School. Born Blackmore
Jack Ellis. Son. M. 3. Home. Born Blackmore

The strong possibility here is that Walter and Emma moved away from Blackmore, as did Alfred when he married, and therefore did not ‘qualify’ (I will come back to this later) to be remembered on the parish War Memorial. Perhaps though his parents were church-goers or Alfred sang in the choir (I am just guessing) so the congregation decided to honour his name on the church window.

I should mention that I have not consulted Baptism Registers which would, if recorded, link the names of children to parents. These are held at the Essex Record Office. A transcript of the 1910 electoral roll is given on my website but it includes householders only so will be of limited use.

I do not know where Herbert Larke’s home was at the time of death and find that his name does not occur on the 1911 census for Blackmore. Whether he is honoured on a war memorial in another village I do not know. His family lived near Copyhold Farm.

War memorials, it seems to me, were local responses for a need to remember those who had died – and if not uniquely to Blackmore those who had served too. So the decisions to include or otherwise a name appears to have been a local matter. If you look at the Stondon page of the website (see http://www.blackmorehistory.co.uk/stondonwwone.html ) you will see Revd. Reeve’s words about the decision about whose names to commemorate on the war memorial tablet in Stondon church. You may be interested to know also that four names on the Blackmore War memorial also appear on the war memorial tablet inside Doddinghurst Church: Gerald Pigott, James Roast, Harry Riglin and Herbert Miller.

Finally, as I have said, the additional names were gleaned from the cwgc database but also the original transcript of local historian and Rector for Stondon Massey, Revd. Edward Reeve. I also produced a book last year entitled ‘Revd. E H L Reeve: Chronicler of the Great War’. The original transcripts are all held at the Essex Record Office and may be consulted, with an easily obtainable Reader’s ticket, in the search room. I recently discovered lurking in an acquisition box some original documents originally owned by the Rector. These include correspondence with those at the Front and, sadly, a black edged letter from J. H Maynard, living in Fingrith Hall Road Blackmore, advising that “our dear brother” Ernest Maynard was killed in action on 27 June 1917. Ernest Maynard lived in Blackmore but worked as a gardener for Reeve at Stondon Rectory. Even at a distance of nearly 100 years and even though one does not know the family, to read these documents is a moving experience. I need to write up those notes because if these stories are not brought to public attention the grim lessons of war will be forgotten.

I hope all this is of interest.

Regards
Andrew

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