‘As­tro­nomic rise’ in sol­dier re­search

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

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.

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