WW1 Memories

The following stories and memories have been collected by volunteers as part of a WW1 Memories project.

We have enjoyed hearing about the people within the stories and meeting the family members who have shared their stories, photos and treasured souvenirs with us. We hope you enjoy reading them too.

 

If you have any family memories or stories to share, please contact ngage on 01375 389893.

Archie Smith

Archie Smith

(Born est. 1898)

Memories of a WW1 Prisoner of War

"There was never enough food and the Germans were starving by 1918, so the POWs had nothing. As a result in later life Archie never left his pate until it was empty." Story collected by D Wallace (writer) and Pat Higgins, WW1 Project Volunteers.

To read Archie's full story click here.

Edward George Sharp

Edward George Sharp

(1890 - 1956)

Memories of a WW1 soldier from Grays

"The soldiers fell down in a heap, with Edward underneath. This saved his life as Edward was shielded by the other soldiers, who were all killed." Story collected by Diane Lee (writer) and Mike Lee, WW1 Project Volunteers.

To read Edward's full story click here.

Elsie Louise Winwood

Elsie Louise Winwood

Memories of a Corringham Kynoch factory worker

"She worked in a corrugated shed, where the women filled shells with gunpowder. Most of the women slept at the Kynoch overnight, but Elsie did not want to do that and always returned to her home." Story collected by Diane Lee (writer) and Mike Lee, WW1 Project Volunteers.

To read Elsie's full story click here.

Gwendoline Margaret Wakeling

Gwendoline Margaret Wakeling

(1899-1989)

Memories of Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and Women's Royal Air Force member

"She moved to Purfleet at some stage as her father worked on the Garrison. Gwendoline joined the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps on 6th October 1917 and was given very precise travel direction." Story collected by Diane Lee (writer) and Mike Lee, WW1 Project Volunteers.

To read Gwendoline's full story click here.

Harold Keegan

Harold Keegan

(1896-1917)

Memories of a WW1 soldier killed in action

"During the following months as he served there he wrote home to his parents, Charles and Jennie whenever he could and sent them mementoes." Story collected by Pat Higgins (writer) , WW1 Project Volunteer.

To read Harold's full story click here.

James Haynes

James Haynes

(1897-1916)

Memories of a WW1 soldier killed in The Battle of the Somme

"Both Manning and James Haynes had leave before the Battle of Somme but as Manning was coming home, James was going back to the trenches." Story collected by Sardra Conway (writer) and Mike Lee, WW1 Project Volunteers.

To read James' full story click here.

James William Travis

James William Travis

(1892-1985)

Memories of WW1 soldier and boxer from Grays

"When war was declared Jim took his ambulance to France; but that didn't stop his boxing. Boxing was very popular behind the lines during rest periods when soldiers had to make their own entertainment. Jim fought 15 rounds on the Arras race course within the sound of gunfire." Story collected by Diane Lee (writer) and Mike Lee, WW1 Project Volunteers.

To read Jim's full story click here.

Leonard Wakeling

Leonard Wakeling

(1905-1982)

Discovery of lost WW1 Memorial Music

"He came across the box more recently and was taken by a piece of music called 'Remember Louvain' which was written by John Neat in 1914."

To read Leonard's full story click here.

Leonard Williams

Leonard Williams

(1893-1972)

Memories of WW1 Field Artillery soldier

"He joined the field artillery which involved moving cannons and horses to where they were needed. He was sent to the Somme in about 1915 and one day while moving a cannon, The horse which was pulling it went down a shell hole." Story collected by Pam Purkiss (writer), WW1 Project Volunteer.

To read Leonard's full story click here.

Manning Haynes

Manning Haynes

(1894-1964)

Memories of a WW1 soldier injured at the Battle of the Somme

"He was reported missing presumed dead, but he was alive in a French hospital in Etratet. He was sent home on the HMHS Asturias with a label tied to him so he could be identified." Story collected by Sardra Conway (writer) and Mike Lee, WW1 Project Volunteers.

To read Manning's full story click here.

Stanley James Turp

Stanley James Turp

(1898-1952)

Memories of a WW1 Soldier from Stanford-Le-Hope

"Whilst on duty Stanley was shot in the chest. Fortunately he had a small bible in his breast pocket. The bullet became lodged into the bible which apparently saved his life"

To read Stanley's full story click here.

Tom Brown

Tom Brown

(1889- est.1950)

Memories of a WW1 Prisoner of War from Tilbury

"In 1914 Tom joined the Essex Regiment. He was gassed before being captured at The Somme. Tom spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of War in Germany " Story collected by Diane Lee (writer) and Mike Lee, WW1 Project Volunteers.

To read Tom's full story click here.

Thomas Parker

Thomas Parker

(est.1876-1951)

Memories of a WW1 Prisoner of War

"His life at the front was short lived as he was taken prisoner of war at the retreat after the battle of Mons. He spent the remainder of the war in Germany." Story collected by Mike Lee (writer) and Sandra Conway, WW1 Project Volunteers.

To read Thomas' full story click here.

Victor John Orpin

Victor John Orpin

(1899-1977)

Memories of King's Royal Rifles Soldier from Grays

"Victor was with the troops who marched into Germany. The daily marches were harsh; the weather was bitterly cold with heavy rain turning to snow." Story collected by Diane Lee (writer) and Mike Lee, WW1 Project Volunteers.

To read Victor's full story click here.

William Henry Harriss

William Henry Harriss

(1891-1961)

Memories of a WW1 Royal Engineer

"Whilst on horseback a stray bullet caught William in the face causing devastating and lifelong injuries." Story collected by Diane Lee (writer) and Mike Lee, WW1 Project Volunteers.

To read William's full story click here.

William Robert Bell

William Robert Bell

(1889-1970)

Memories of a WW1 soldier and policeman

"Unfortunately William was underage and when his parents found out they informed the army. William was discharged owing to a misstatement of age after only 99 days of service."

To read William's full story click here.

William Samuel Key

William Samuel Key

(1898-1916)

Memories of a WW1 soldier killed in action on October 2nd 1916

"Although William was engaged to be married, in May 1916 at the age of 18, he joined up with the 12th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment as a private soldier. Tragically just a few months later William died in action."

To read William's full story click here.

William Thomas Humphries

William Thomas Humphries

(1882-1975)

Memories of a soldier and his wife Esther

"My Grandmother, Esther, was notified of his poor health. She grabbed her four boys and made her way from Newport to Tilbury begging lifts and walking."

To read William's full story click here.

My father, Frank

My father, Frank

Memories from a local resident at Bluebell Court,

"My father, Frank, was a secondary school master near Hammersmith and he made the long journey every day from Grays." Story collected by Diane Lee (writer) and Mike Lee, WW1 Project Volunteers.

To read Frank's story click here.

Ernest Naylor

Ernest Naylor

(Born. 1893)

Memories of a member of the Essex regiment of the Army.

“Ernest Naylor was born 27th October 1893 to Bessie Toten. Bessie was a housemaid and had given birth to Ernest out of wedlock.”

To read Ernest’s full story click here.

Francis Henry Naylor

Francis Henry Naylor

(1892-1920)

Memories of a member of the 46th Battalion of the Royal Field Artillery.

“Francis was finally sent home from hospital on 12th September 1918. He was sent back to his father with a ‘a suit of plain clothes, a grey coat and £1.’”

To read Francis’ full story click here.

Edward George Mayes

Edward George Mayes

(1898-1979)

Memories of a member of the Royal Fusiliers.

"During The Great War, Edward served in the Royal Fusiliers in France and Belgium. On being demobbed in 1919, he worked at Van Den Burgh & Jurgens, and later Stork Margarine."

To read Edward's story click here.

Alfred William Smith

Alfred William Smith

(1884-1955)

Memories of a member of the Royal Engineers.

"Alfred enlisted on 19th October 1915 in the Royal Engineers, Regimental No. 135430. He was aged 31 and left Frances at home caring for their three young children. He saw action in France and was promoted firstly to a corporal and then in 1917 to a sergeant. Postcards which he sent from France still survive."

To read Alfred's full story click here.

Tom Boatman

Tom Boatman

(1899-1986)

Memories of a WW1 Private in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps and prisoner of war.

"Tom was posted abroad in September 1917 and on 21st March 1918 reported missing. It was later discovered that he had been captured and was a prisoner of war. It is not known how long he was incarcerated, but in 1919 he was at Rugeley awaiting demobilisation."

Story collected by Pam Purkiss (writer) WW1 Project
Volunteer.

To read Tom's full story click here.

Alice Maud Hawkins

Alice Maud Hawkins

(1892-1963)

"After they were married both William and Alice lived in Tilbury together. Prior to WW1, Alice worked in service at a local doctors."

To read Alice's full story click here.