Labour of love

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - LETTERS -

In re­sponse to the ar­ti­cle on set­ting up a spe­cial­ist web­site in your Septem­ber is­sue, I would like to share my ef­fort, www.mil­i­tary an­ces­tors.co.uk, which I launched in 2015.

My web­site records the names and in­for­ma­tion of sol­diers, sailors and air­men linked to the bor­ough of Brom­ley that ap­peared in the Brom­ley & Dis­trict Times dur­ing the First World War. In the early years of the war there were lists of those who had joined or re­joined the forces, of­ten with their ad­dresses. I started tran­scrib­ing these in 2014. I have now trawled through the pa­pers from 1914 to 1922 and listed the in­for­ma­tion of all those mil­i­tary men to­gether with Spe­cial Con­sta­bles and some Vol­un­tary Aid De­tach­ment nurses whose names ap­peared.

The amount of in­for­ma­tion avail­able varies. Some re­ports, such of those of wed­dings and fu­ner­als, can pro­vide names and ad­dresses of par­ents, of­ten with a list of the wed­ding guests (and wed­ding gifts) and mourn­ers. These names are not in­cluded in my data­base, but, since the sources are pro­vided, it would be pos­si­ble to go to the orig­i­nal re­port to find fur­ther in­for­ma­tion. De­tails of pro­mo­tions, let­ters from the Front, obituaries, gal­lantry de­tails, court records and names of the Fallen all ap­peared in the pa­per and have been in­cluded on my site.

Most of the in­for­ma­tion comes from the lo­cal news­pa­per, but some has come from the 1/1st Royal West Kent Reg­i­ment ad­dress book cre­ated in 1919 af­ter the war. In ad­di­tion, I have been given per­mis­sion to use re­search on the boys of Whit­gift Mid­dle School (now Trin­ity School, Croy­don) and also on the Fallen on the Couls­don Me­mo­rial. Although my work has been about the First World War, there is no rea­son why it should be lim­ited to this war only. I would wel­come ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion to add to the site.

The work has led to me re­ceiv­ing a pub­lish­ing con­tract for a book that should come out in 2018. I have also started an­other web­site, www.foot­step­stothep­ast.co.uk, which links to mil­i­tary an­ces­tors and a Pin­ter­est board that in­cludes the por­traits of sol­diers printed in 1914/15. It con­tains a va­ri­ety of ar­ti­cles from the Dis­trict Times; from let­ters from the Front to home hints, en­ter­tain­ment and fash­ion. Pamela Preedy Edi­tor replies: What a fan­tas­tic re­source Pamela and a great- look­ing web­site. You are cer­tainly a wor­thy win­ner of our star let­ter prize this month.

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