Labour of love
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.