‘Astronomic rise’ in soldier research
A SURGE in research projects is contributing toward more detailed accounts of the stories behind soldiers and their families in the First World War.
Chairman of the Western Front Association (WFA) Oxon and Bucks Branch, Nigel Crompton, has reported an ‘astronomical rise’ in inquires from people curious about their relatives’ part in the war, as the country remembers the centenary of the war’s start.
Mr Crompton said: “We have had an astronomical rise in inquiries for family histories and war memorials.
“Most of them are really doing great, some of them are producing books and some are having events to publicise their results.”
Mr Crompton said people have been using newspaper archives, maps and parish magazines in their research.
He believes organisations like the National Archives, which have opened up new records, have inspired the curiosity.
First time researchers can start at home by using new search engines to access archive material and trace soldiers’ history.
Mr Crompton added: “Making it more accessible from laptops gives you a lot more scope for research.
“You can get a lot of stuff much quicker.
“The centenary had really opened up a new chapter for research.”
The WFA has had inquiries into people’s stories on the home front too, such as the women who worked in ammunition factories and the records of hospitals developed into makeshift camps for training battalions.
Readers can track down their relatives who may have fought in the First World War by using a search tool at www. getbucks.co.uk.